SpaceX has sent 60 more internet satellites into space – and is already preparing to launch yet more.
The company carried dozens of its Starlink satellites up on a Falcon 9 rocket, early on Thursday morning.
Less than 10 minutes later, that rocket drifted back down and landed as usual on a floating barge, ready to be cleaned up and re-used.
The booster had already set the record for the quickest turnaround since it last launched. It had last flown just 27 days ago, when it carried another communications satellite.
In total, the booster has now made five journeys. “Rapid reusability is key to reducing the cost of traveling to space,” SpaceX said in a tweet announcing the successful launch and landing.
After the latest launch, SpaceX had been planning to go again with another set of Starlink satellites, in a matter of hours.
In the event, that launch was pushed back to early Friday morning, so that “additional checks” could be carried out.
SpaceX has now launched 1,085 Starlink satellites into space. That is a large proportion of all the active satellites curently floating around Earth.
The company has approval to launch many more, with plans already in place for some 12,000. The company is working on being able to launch them quickly on rockets that likewise can be recovered and turned around quickly, as was shown on Thursday.
The latest SpaceX Starlink satellites will move themselves into formation with the rest of the Starlink network and begin broadcasting internet connections.
Testing has already begun on the space internet plan, though it will not go into full operation until many more satellites are launched.