The private aerospace manufacturer founded by Elon Musk, SpaceX. Continues rapidly deploying Starlink satellites to expand its global internet coverage.
On Sunday, the company successfully launched 23 more Starlink satellites from Cape Canaveral, marking its second Falcon 9 launch of the day.
The launch occurred from pad 40 at Cape Canaveral and was scheduled for 8:17 p.m. EDT. Earlier the same day, a Falcon 9 rocket had carried 22 Starlink satellites into orbit from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.
These launches are part of SpaceX’s ongoing effort to enhance its Starlink internet service, which has been expanding rapidly.
SpaceX Nears 5,000 Starlink Satellites
As of the recent launch, SpaceX has 4,989 Starlink satellites in orbit. If all goes according to plan, the company will surpass the 5,000-satellite milestone by the end of the day.
These satellites are an integral part of SpaceX’s ambitious plan to provide high-speed internet access to underserved and remote areas worldwide.
The launch from Cape Canaveral had favorable weather conditions, with the 45th Weather Squadron predicting an 85% chance of a successful liftoff.
The primary concerns were related to wind limits at launch and potential lightning-triggering cumulus clouds. There was a low to moderate risk of weather conditions in the booster recovery area near the Bahamas.
SpaceX had five backup launch opportunities available on Sunday night, with the last scheduled for 10:47 p.m. EDT. This flexibility allows the company to adapt to changing conditions and ensure mission success.
The Falcon 9 rocket, on its eighth flight, successfully delivered the 23 Starlink satellites into orbit before its first-stage booster touched down on the drone ship named ‘Of Course I Still Love You’ approximately eight and a half minutes after launch.
The booster, identified as tail number B1077, has an impressive flight history, having completed various missions, including Crew 5, GPS III F6, Inmarsat I6-F2, CRS-28, Intelsat G-37, and multiple Starlink delivery flights.
The deployment of the 23 Starlink satellites into their intended orbit, approximately 182×177 miles (293×285 km), occurred about 1 hour, 5 minutes, and 38 seconds after liftoff.
This launch marked SpaceX’s 90th orbital mission in the past year, highlighting the company’s remarkable pace of tasks, with nearly one launch every four days on average.
SpaceX aims to accelerate its launch cadence further, with plans to achieve 100 flights in 2023 and 144 in 2024, underlining its commitment to space exploration and satellite internet service expansion.
Source: Space Flight Now