SpaceX launches Falcon 9 booster from Cape Canaveral on recording-breaking 18th flight

A Falcon 9 rocket streaks across the sky, sending 23 Starlink V2 Mini satellites on their way to low Earth orbit. This was the 18th launch and landing of this booster, tail number 1058. Image: Michael Cain

SpaceX broke another re-flight record on Friday evening with the launch of 23 more Starlink satellites on a Falcon 9 booster making its 18th flight.

The Starlink 6-26 mission launched from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 8:37 p.m. EDT (0037 UTC on Nov. 4). It sent 23 Starlink V2 Mini satellites up to low Earth orbit, which will bring the total Starlink satellites launched in 2023 up to 1,711.

The booster for this mission, tail number B1058, is the oldest, currently flying Falcon 9 booster. It first flew on May 30, 2020, launching former NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station on the Demo-2 mission. This was the first flight of the Commercial Crew Program with astronauts on board. SpaceX has since flown seven crew rotation missions up to the orbiting outpost, in addition to two private astronaut missions.

Following liftoff, the booster landed on the droneship, ‘A Shortfall of Gravitas,’ about eight-and-a-half minutes into the mission.

The Falcon 9 rocket that will launch the Demo-2 mission is emblazoned with NASA’s “worm” logo, which was retired from official use in 1992. Credit: SpaceX

As SpaceX continues working towards adding Dragon capabilities to SLC-40 with a new crew access tower, Friday night’s mission will marked the 152nd orbital launch for the company since it began using the launch pad. This will be the 207th overall launch from this site.

While SpaceX launched its 52nd Starlink launch of the year, it’s also working towards another mission over at Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. On Thursday, NASA announced another two-day slip to the launch. It’s the third time the mission has been delayed due to an issue with one of the Draco thrusters on the Cargo Dragon that will fly the mission. Launch was previously scheduled for Nov. 3, 5 and 7.

“During the initial propellant load in preparation for the CRS-29 mission, teams identified a leak of NTO (nitrogen tetroxide oxidizer) in a Draco thruster valve, which per standard procedure required a pause to the operation to troubleshoot,” NASA said in a statement. “The team inspected the valve and respective data, and decided to replace the thruster.”

The 29th SpaceX mission for the Commercial Resupply Services program is currently targeting launch at 8:28 p.m. EST on Nov. 9 (0128 UTC on Nov. 10).

Mission patch for the SpaceX CRS-29 mission to the International Space Station. Image: SpaceX


  1. I am a true X addict.wish were younger to witness Mars exploration bring on starship launch

  2. SpaceX develops expanded capabilities using existing technologies. Rocket motors capable of large thrust outputs all burn chemicals and have specific impulse (ISP) values of not more than about 400 seconds. Thermal nuclear rockets, such as the one to be developed by BWXT and Lockheed for DOE and NASA, will have an ISP of about 800 seconds. New technologies, based on existing particle accelerators, such as those at Fermi Lab, Brookhaven lab and CERN, could potentially produce ISPs of hundreds of thousands to millions of seconds, depending on the exhaust velocity from the accelerator. The problem, just as with current electrical rocket thrusters, is maintaining charge neutrality. I believe projects should be funded to develop accelerator-based rockets for space since they would probably be impractical for use in the atmosphere.

  3. It is very much an incredible feat to see that a man, Elon musk, has successfully launched humans in what appears to be capsules that look like the ones from the 1969 missions. He has not had one loss of life. That is a feat in itself. However with this good rocket flying I bet you Mr musk’s promise of making a falcon 9 rocket fly 20 times is coming to fruition we’re on number 18 right now.

  4. I saw a red object with a short red tail traveling from the North toward the Southeast. it was about 8:45 PM. the tail disappeared shortly after and then the object was bright white, before being obscured by clouds. The date was 11/3/23.

  5. With all the upside down in our world it is a real pleasure to see a real plan working and people who think and are responsible. wish I was young enough to get involved.Built war ships for a life time and now retired, your turn to build spaceships. GOOD LUCK!

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