SpaceX launches 350th Falcon 9 rocket on a Starlink flight from Cape Canaveral

The 350th Falcon 9 rocket launches on June 27, 2024, on the Starlink 10-3 mission. Image: Adam Bernstein/Spaceflight Now

Update 8:00 a.m. EDT: SpaceX launched the Starlink 10-3 mission.

SpaceX is marking two key records with the launch of its latest batch of Starlink satellites from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The Starlink 10-3 mission was SpaceX’s 350th Falcon 9 rocket launch.

The first stage booster supporting this mission, tail number B1062 in the SpaceX fleet, also launched for a 22nd time, making it the flight leader among the Falcon fleet. Liftoff of the mission happened at 7:14 a.m. EDT (1114 UTC).

Among its previous 21 launches, B1062 launched two GPS satellites, two crews of astronauts (Inspiration4 and Ax-1) and 14 Starlink missions.

A little more than eight minutes after liftoff, B1062 will land on the SpaceX droneship, ‘Just Read the Instructions.’ If successful, this will be the 85th landing on JRTI and the 325th booster landing to date.

The launch of 23 more Starlink satellites comes just two days after SpaceX launched the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) GOES-U weather satellite. The mission launched on the company’s tenth Falcon Heavy rocket.

SpaceX launches the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) GOES-U weather satellite on the company’s tenth Falcon Heavy rocket. Image: Adam Bernstein/Spaceflight Now

SpaceX was also just announced as at the recipient of a contract valued at up to $843 million to “develop and deliver the U.S. Deorbit Vehicle that will provide the capability to deorbit the space station and ensure avoidance of risk to populated areas.”

“Selecting a U.S. Deorbit Vehicle for the International Space Station will help NASA and its international partners ensure a safe and responsible transition in low Earth orbit at the end of station operations. This decision also supports NASA’s plans for future commercial destinations and allows for the continued use of space near Earth,” said Ken Bowersox, associate administrator for Space Operations Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in a statement. “The orbital laboratory remains a blueprint for science, exploration, and partnerships in space for the benefit of all.”

The orbiting outpost has a planned operational end of life date of 2030 as new commercial space stations come online. NASA stated that the launch contract for this mission will be awarded at a later date.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches from pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on the Starlink 10-3 mission on June 27, 2024. Image: Michael Cain/Spaceflight Now