SpaceX got to launch their fifth (operational) Starlink mission this morning out of Cape Canaveral. Coincidentally, this was the fifth launch for their first stage Falcon 9 rocket, which likely ended up being its last. The rocket missed the landing on the autonomous barge at sea. Musk commented about this on his usual press medium, twitter:
Yeah. There was also an early engine shutdown on ascent, but it didn’t affect orbit insertion. Shows value of having 9 engines! Thorough investigation needed before next mission.
While SpaceX usually recovers the rocket bodies from the ocean, it's much harder to retrofit them again for flight; though they can certainly gather parts for future builds such as the landing legs.
All that said, we're talking about Starlink, and that part was a success! There are now a total of 360 satellites orbiting the planet, though the first 60 were a 'test' launch and may not be part of the commercially used constellation. These new satellites also have some of the improvements they've designed to ease the minds of astronomers everywhere. The sheer number of satellites has been a topic of contention for scientists claiming it would dampen their efforts to explore the sky from land. During the live transmission, SpaceX mentioned the possibility of installing a "sun shade" to further block reflection from the satellites down to the ground. You can watch the entirety of the transmission here:
JoseQ's Look at this Thing
It's always sad to see a Falcon 9 miss their landing. It's sort of the most exciting part of the broadcast, even though it's hardly the most important. Satellites are up which is great. Each failed landing though triggers an investigation which may delay the next launch. Their plans aim for a new batch to go up every couple of weeks, so that may be pushed further out. I am very curious about their actual service rollout and hoping we get details on that soon.