At 1859 GMT on 26 May 2021 SpaceX successfully launched a Falcon 9 launch vehicle from Cape Canaveral Space Forces Station, Florida, USA. The rocket was carrying 60 Starlink satellites intended to complete the first “shell” – 1,584 units, at 550km, inclined at 53 degrees – of the Starlink constellation. With this first “shell” completed SpaceX is able to provide an acceptable service to 80 per cent of the globe and in particular, an improved service to southern areas to the continental USA.
The B1063 first-stage successfully landed on the drone barge “Just Read The Instructions” which was stationed down range in the Atlantic Ocean. This marks the second flight for this booster, after its first mission in November 2020. Additionally. both fairing halves on this mission were also veterans, with one having been re-used four times before this launch.
Phil Hylands contributed to this article.