SpaceX successfully launches 64 satellites and lands same booster for the third time
Yesterday afternoon at 1:34pm EST, SpaceX launched their Falcon 9 rocket carrying the SSO-A mission with SHERPA from Space Launch Complex 4 at the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
This mission was a big deal for SpaceX, such as reusing a first stage booster for a third time for the first time, the first booster to launch from all three SpaceX pads (SLC-40, LC-39A, SLC-4), and the most launches in a year with 19 and 22 by the end of the year. Lastly, it's the largest ride share on a US rocket with 64 satellites.
In December of 2016, SpaceX successfully landed their first stage for the first time, marking an event in spaceflight history. Since then, they've successfully landed their first stage booster a total of 31 times and have reflown recovered boosters a total of 18 times. They first reused a booster on the SES-10 mission and successfully landed that booster on their drone ship, marking another point in history and pushing the company closer to reducing the cost of launching a Falcon 9. Reusing this first stage is another step in the direction of low-cost and rapid reusability with little to none refurbishment. They plan on re-launching these new Block 5 boosters a total of 10 times before any kind of refurbishment.
Of the 64 satellites, there were 49 cubesats and 15 microsats from several different organizations all around the world, from 17 different countries.