SpaceX's latest mission once again boosts its pioneering Starlink satellite network, as 56 internet-beaming satellites were successfully deployed into Low Earth Orbit (LEO). The mission comes around 31 hours after it deployed a Starlink fleet yesterday from California's coast. With every mission, SpaceX reinforces its commitment to revolutionizing global internet connectivity and expanding access to over 1.5 million of users. The company utilized a flight-proven Falcon 9 rocket, lifting off at 11:34 a.m. ET from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Carrying a total of 56 Starlink satellites, this mission, known as Starlink Group 5-12, marked an important step in the completion of Phase 1 of the Starlink constellation. Each phase consists of five orbital shells with distinct parameters. Today's deployment involved first-generation satellites that will operate within orbital Shell 5, positioned at an altitude of 530 kilometers (km) and inclined at 43 degrees to Earth's equator.
Liftoff! pic.twitter.com/OUNkJ5gCD1— SpaceX (@SpaceX) June 23, 2023
With this successful mission, SpaceX achieved its 43rd launch of 2023 (excluding Starship flight test), progressing towards its goal of completing 100 launches this year, effectively doubling its launch activity from 2022. The company has established itself as a leader in rocket reusability, a feat exemplified by the Falcon 9 first-stage booster assigned to this mission, identified as B1069-8. The booster, having now flown eight times, has an impressive track record, previously supporting critical missions such as NASA's CRS-24 mission to the International Space Station, the Eutelsat HOTBIRD 13F, OneWeb 1, SES-18, and SES-19 launches, as well as four previous Starlink missions. Once again, the booster executed a successful propulsive landing on the 'Just Read the Instructions' droneship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean, showcasing SpaceX's remarkable reusability capabilities. SpaceX has now achieved 203 successful landings of orbital-class rockets and has reused recovered boosters a total of 176 times. "Today's mission marks our first tenth flight of a fairing half," said the company.
Falcon 9’s first stage has landed on the Just Read the Instructions droneship pic.twitter.com/K6q6xHBDIF— SpaceX (@SpaceX) June 23, 2023
Fairings deployed. Today's mission marks our first tenth flight of a fairing half pic.twitter.com/lJC4zv5mSI— SpaceX (@SpaceX) June 23, 2023
SpaceX's commitment to sustainability extends beyond rocket reusability. The company has made significant efforts to mitigate space debris by designing Starlink satellites that burn completely upon reentry into Earth's atmosphere. While the total number of Starlink satellites launched now reaches an impressive 4,698, Astronomer Jonathan McDowell's data indicates that approximately 4,368 satellites are currently operational in orbit. Some satellites have been lost due to a range of factors, including technical issues and magnetic solar storms, which can cause these low-orbiting satellites to descend into Earth's atmosphere. Despite these occasional setbacks, the operational Starlink satellites continue to provide internet connectivity to millions of users globally. SpaceX's revolutionary satellite constellation has brought internet access to remote areas and transformed connectivity options for users worldwide. As the company continues to expand and refine its Starlink network, SpaceX sets a pioneering example for the aerospace industry with its dedication to rocket reusability and sustainable satellite operations. With each successful launch, SpaceX inches closer to its vision of a global, high-speed, satellite-based internet service accessible to all corners of the globe.
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Featured Image Source: SpaceX
About the Author
Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.