SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches record 12th mission, lands on ship at sea

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket flew for an unprecedented 12th time Saturday (March 19) and came back down to Earth for yet another successful touchdown.

The two-stage Falcon 9 lifted off from Florida's Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 12:42 a.m. EDT (0442 GMT) on Saturday.

It was the 12th launch for this Falcon 9 first stage, setting a new record for SpaceX rocket reusability.

SpaceX's first crewed flight, the Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station, in May 2020; the SXM-7 satellite for SiriusXM in December 2020; and eight other Starlink missions.

The first stage aced its 12th landing as well, coming down for a pinpoint touchdown about nine minutes after liftoff on the droneship Just Read The Instructions

The second stage continued carrying the 53 Starlink spacecraft to their designated orbit, deploying them all about an hour after liftoff.

Before today's mission, SpaceX had launched 2,282 Starlink satellites, 2,033 of which are currently operational, according to astrophysicist and satellite tracker Jonathan McDowell. 

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