SpaceX’s Falcon 9 lifted off into space today for the 3rd time, launching a complement of over 60 satellites for Seattle-based company Spaceflight.
The 64 cubesats launched belong to a plethora of private companies and governments. Cubesats are extremely small satellites, ranging from the size of roll of toilet paper to the size of a briefcase. The uses of the cubesats range from earth observation to space memorial, containing the remains of those who have passed away and cremated.
The launch of so many satellites is a history making first.
Also making history is SpaceX’s 3rd reuse of the Falcon 9 first state. This Falcon 9 first stage has previously flown twice, and this launch marks the first time that a single Falcon 9 has launched from all three of SpaceX’s launch sites in both Vandenburg AFB in California and Cape Canaveral in Florida. After safely seeing the Falcon 9 second stage and the 64 satellites off to space, the first stage returned home to a drone ship in the pacific ocean. The Falcon 9 is designed to be reflown up to 10 times before requiring refurbishment.
It is Elon Musk and SpaceX’s hope that reflying rockets willing bring down the cost of flying to space.