With the successful completion of its spaceflight Sunday morning, SpaceX has remarkedly accomplished 3 launches in just 36 hours, in a report from Space.com. The fastest sequence of three missions by any commercial launch company in history.
A two-stage Falcon 9 hauled a Globalstar communications satellite into orbit early Sunday from Cape Canaveral, completing the hattrick for SpaceX. According to Space.com, the first mission happened on Friday when the company launched its Starlink internet satellites from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The second mission on Saturday lofted a radar satellite for the German military from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.
The success from this past weekend has plenty of space enthusiasts giddy with excitement. It was just seven years ago when the first Falcon 9 core landed successfully, and now SpaceX has achieved 3 separate launches, on both sides of North America, and recovered boosters on land and at sea. Pretty good for a company, that not too long ago, was only associated with failed rocket launches.
The launches took place days after internal criticism of Elon Musk, founder and chief executive of SpaceX, erupted into public view. An open letter circulated within company networks on June 15 stating that Musk’s public statements had become an “embarrassment” for some employees, distracting them from their work. Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s president and chief operating officer, confirmed in an email to the New York Times that SpaceX “terminated a number of employees involved.”
“As our CEO and most prominent spokesperson, Elon is seen as the face of SpaceX — every Tweet that Elon sends is a de facto public statement by the company,” the letter said. “It is critical to make clear to our teams and to our potential talent pool that his messaging does not reflect our work, our mission, or our values.”
In spite of the recent controversy, Space X’s achievement in practical booster reuse has put them decades ahead of other space agencies.