A SpaceX booster now trails only 4 space shuttles in flight experience

The B1051 booster launches for the 10th time early on Sunday morning from Florida.

Enlarge / The B1051 booster launches for the 10th time early on Sunday morning from Florida. (credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX crossed a significant milestone on Sunday morning with yet another launch of 60 Starlink Internet satellites.

These Starlink launches have become routine—and dare we say it, a little boring?—as SpaceX builds out its constellation to deliver broadband Internet around the world from low Earth orbit. However, the rate at which SpaceX has begun to reuse its Falcon 9 first stages is decidedly not monotonous.

For Sunday morning’s launch, SpaceX used a first stage that had flown into space nine previous times. After this launch, the B1051 booster landed safely on a drone ship, completing its tenth flight to space. This is a notable milestone because, in 2018, SpaceX founder Elon Musk said the goal for its Falcon 9 rocket would be to fly each first stage booster 10 times before requiring significant maintenance.

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