February 18 (UPI) — U.S. space exploration technology company SpaceX successfully launched its fifth batch of 60 Starlink satellites on Monday, bringing its total number of satellites in low-Earth orbit to nearly 300, according tomedia. Musk’s vision for creating the space Internet is another step forward.
However, the Falcon 9 rocket booster, which put the satellites into orbit, failed to recover and fell into the sea. This is the first time this has happened since June 2016, when the Falcon 9 rocket booster was not recovered by the Space X unmanned spacecraft.
It is not clear what happened during the booster’s recovery, but smoke or steam can only be seen on the side of the recovery vessel, indicating that the booster fell into the sea a long way from the recovery ship. The rocket appears to be intact and floating in the ocean, but it is unclear whether it will be salvaged.
The booster has a long life span, and the booster that supported the Starlink satellite has carried out three missions, sending two SpaceX cargo Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station in May and July 2019 and launching the JCSAT-18 Kacific1 communications satellite in December 2019.
If successful, it would be Space X’s 50th successful recovery, though the milestone may not be reached until the next launch. The next Starlink satellite launch is scheduled for sometime in March.
Space X’s successful recovery of boosters is a huge advantage for its business and could help significantly reduce the cost of entering space. Not only does SpaceX do a great job of recycling and reusing rockets, but it’s also launching faster than ever before.
SpaceX is committed to building the Space Internet to provide Internet access to people who are having difficulty accessing the network through fiber optic and cellular connections today. Starlink will send relatively high-speed data down from its satellite network orbiting the Earth, which this year aims to service services in the northern United States and Canada.