Tesla Model S Plaid arrives E3 2021 schedule Amazon Prime Day 2021 Best gifts for Dad Millions more stimulus checks sent

SpaceX rocket makes record 10th flight while Elon Musk parties post-SNL

Just hours after the iconoclastic CEO hosted Saturday Night Live, his company conducted a landmark launch.

- 02:12

B1051 launches for the 10th time.


While Elon Musk was reportedly out on the town in New York partying with Miley Cyrus in celebration of his first turn hosting Saturday Night Live, his space company was busy breaking its own record for reusing rockets.

Just before midnight Sunday Pacific Time, SpaceX landed a Falcon 9 booster known humbly as B1051 on its droneship Just Read the Instructions in the Atlantic Ocean. The moment marked the end of the rocket's 10th flight, a new record for an orbital booster and the latest vindication for the sometimes controversial, risk-taking Musk. 

Musk's two most successful ventures, SpaceX and Tesla Motors, were once teetering on the edge of failure and have since grown to revolutionize their respective industries. For decades most space launches were conducted at great expense using disposable rockets that were typically dropped in the ocean after a single use. Musk and SpaceX have set out to drive down the cost of getting to space and even to the moon and Mars by designing rockets and spacecraft meant to be reused dozens of times.

There was something poignant about SpaceX reaching this latest milestone within hours of Musk's revelation during his SNL monologue that he lives with Asperger's syndrome. 

As CNET's sister site Healthline notes, people with AS can have difficulty with social interaction, engage in repetitive behavior, stand firm in what they think, and focus on rules and routines. Often, those diagnosed with the disorder have average or above average intelligence and can become absorbed in specific topics. Maybe like building rockets to send humanity to Mars? Musk has served as the chief designer and engineer for SpaceX and is intimately involved with the details of its rockets. He's also said from the beginning that the end goal is make humans a multiplanetary species.

B1051's mission over the weekend was to launch the latest batch of 60 satellites for SpaceX's Starlink broadband constellation. It was the seventh Starlink mission flown by the booster, meaning it has lofted about a quarter of the Starlinks launched so far on its own.

Combine the efforts of B1051 with another veteran booster, B1049, which recently flew its ninth mission, and the pair are responsible for putting more than half of the growing mega-constellation in orbit thus far.

Both boosters may still be at the beginning of their careers. Musk and SpaceX have said they hope to reuse the rockets up to a hundred times each.

Follow CNET's 2021 Space Calendar to stay up to date with all the latest space news this year. You can even add it to your own Google Calendar.