A senior SpaceX official said this week that “heat damage” led to the failure of a Falcon 9 booster during a landing attempt Feb. 15, but the company will press on with more launches and will likely surpass the 10-flight threshold on one of its reusable rockets soon. The next Falcon 9 launch, using a booster flying on its eighth mission, is scheduled for liftoff from Florida with 60 more Starlink internet satellites Sunday night.
SpaceX launched 60 more Starlink internet satellites at 10:59 p.m. EST Monday (0359 GMT Tuesday) aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The mission successfully placed the Starlink payloads into orbit, but the Falcon 9 booster failed during a landing attempt offshore.
SpaceX hurled a secret cargo into space for the U.S. government’s spy satellite agency Saturday, the 30th rocket launch to fly into Earth orbit from pads on Florida’s Space Coast in 2020. The Falcon 9 flight broke an annual record for missions to reach orbit from the Florida spaceport that stood for 54 years.
SpaceX’s final Falcon 9 launch of the year carried a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office, the U.S. government’s spy satellite agency. SpaceX aborted a launch attempt Thursday morning to assess a second stage sensor reading, but the Falcon 9 successfully lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center at 9 a.m. EST (1400 GMT) Saturday. The rocket’s stage landed back at Cape Canaveral eight minutes later.