Space fans have been starved for action lately, with three big missions repeatedly scrubbed and postponed over the past several weeks. But early on Tuesday, SpaceX finally ended the streak that became known as #Scrubtober (and previously known as #Scrubtember) with the launch and deployment of 60 new Starlink satellites via a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral.
This Starlink mission was the Falcon 9 rocket booster's third flight overall. It sent astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to orbit in May and then launched a South Korean satellite in July. So far, SpaceX has managed to launch and land the same rocket up to six times.
The Falcon 9 first stage landed again on the droneship Of Course I Still Love You in the Atlantic about 8.5 minutes after launch Tuesday. SpaceX also reports that it caught at least one of the fairing halves that flew on two previous missions.
The launch, originally scheduled for September, was postponed multiple times, including twice last week due to heavy clouds in one case and an aberrant ground sensor reading in another. Monday's scrub was yet again blamed on weather.
Another SpaceX mission to launch a US Space Force GPS satellite has also been scrubbed multiple times, most recently on Friday. Meanwhile, United Launch Alliance has been trying to get one of its Delta IV Heavy rockets off the ground since August, but has been delayed at least six times.
Musk expressed his clear frustration with the series of scrubs last week.
"We will need to make a lot of improvements to have a chance of completing 48 launches next year!" Musk tweeted Friday.
Musk is surely pleased to see the spell of Scrubtober broken. This is the 13th Starlink mission so far, and SpaceX is planning on dozens more as it grows its broadband mega-constellation.