After launching 60 more Starlink satellites, Falcon 9's first stage has successfully landed on the specific Just Read the Instructions (JRTI) droneship. This is the booster's seventh successful flight and landing.
The veteran Falcon 9 rocket launched from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 11:44 p.m. Wednesday. The company's tenth launch of the year occurred at 3:44 p.m. EDT.
Falcon 9’s first stage has landed on the Just Read the Instructions droneship, completing this booster’s seventh launch and landing pic.twitter.com/uir08tQmMU— SpaceX (@SpaceX) April 29, 2021
"The Falcon 9 first stage has landed for its seventh time," SpaceX engineer Jessie Anderson said during the launch broadcast. "This marks our 81st recovery of an orbital class rocket."
The first stage of the rocket returned to Earth nine minutes later, landing on SpaceX's drone ship.
Arianespace had launched a Vega rocket from Kourou, French Guiana, approximately two hours prior, at 9:50 p.m., EDT making this the third flight of the evening. China then launched the core module of its next space station at 11:23 p.m. EDT, followed by SpaceX.
SpaceX, headquartered in Hawthorne, California, is maintaining its fast launch frequency from last year, with its 12th launch so far in 2021. As the organization surpasses the original internet constellation of 1,440 broadband satellites, the bulk of those launches have been SpaceX's own Starlink satellites.
The constellation could potentially number in the tens of thousands. Space.com said SpaceX has been granted authorization to launch up to 30,000 satellites, with the potential to launch many more.
The weather forecasters at the 45th Space Wing's Weather Squadron expected good weather for launch, and they were correct.
What is Just Read The Instructions?
JRTI is actually an autonomous spaceport drone ship (ASDS). It's a modified barge with a large landing pad, some station-keeping thrusters, and even some other equipment.
The barge helps SpaceX to land boosters at sea on those high-velocity flights that don't have enough fuel to land back at the launch site.
The name JRTI was then assigned to a brand-new droneship that operated out of California. It was originally designed alongside the other SpaceX droneship known as the "Of Course I Still Love You" in a special Louisiana shipyard.
According to the official SpaceXFleet website, Just Read The Instructions is supposed to support those missions that would be launched from the official Vanderburg Air Force Base. The droneship was relocated to Florida in late 2019 to support the growing number of tasks from Cape Canaveral.
The ship allegedly had to go straight across the Panama Canal to get to its new home in California. However, the droneship was apparently too big to go through the entire canal locks. So the other extra wing extensions, which are intended to have a much wider landing pad, were later put on deck and assembled upon its arrival in California.
SpaceX's Falcon 9 landing on the Just Read the Instructions is yet another milestone for the company, which is actively experimenting with its rockets and discovering new ways to improve them for more affordable and successful space travel. Apart from rockets, SpaceX Starlink has been making progress toward its goal of providing foreign satellite internet access through low-orbit satellites.
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