SpaceX launches a fleet of internet-beaming Starlink satellites from Vandenberg Space Force Base

SpaceX launches a fleet of internet-beaming Starlink satellites from Vandenberg Space Force Base

On Thursday, October 27, SpaceX launched a fleet of internet-beaming Starlink satellites from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. A seven-times-flown Falcon 9 rocket lifted off for the eighth time at 6:14 p.m. PT from Space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E), carrying 53 Starlink satellites to Low Earth Orbit (LEO). 

Approximately eight-and-a-half minutes after liftoff, the booster returned from space with a propulsive landing on the 'Of Course I Still Love You' autonomous droneship stationed in the Pacific Ocean. It marked SpaceX’s 149th landing of an orbital-class rocket and the 124th time it reuses a booster in its Block 5 fleet. The previously-flown first-stage booster that supported the Starlink Group 4-31 mission is identified as B1063-8; It previously launched NASA's Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich Earth-observing satellite, NASA's DART Mission, and now six Starlink missions. Rocket reusability has enabled SpaceX to perform rocket flights weekly. It is currently the only aerospace company in the world capable of reusing orbital-class rockets. To date, the company has reused multiple Falcon 9 boosters 14 times. 

The 53 Starlink Group 4-31 satellites were deployed to LEO around half an hour after liftoff. It is the 31st fleet of satellites that will operate as part of orbital Shell 4 which consists of arranging 1,584 satellites at an altitude of 540 kilometers with an inclination of 53.2 degrees to the equator. SpaceX is deploying Phase 1 of the Starlink constellation into five orbital shells with different orbital parameters, detailed in the table shown below. To date, SpaceX has launched a total of 3,505 Starlink satellites since 2019. Of those, only around 3,223 remain in orbit according to data by leading astronomer Jonathan McDowell. SpaceX plans to launch a total of 12,000 Starlink satellites to LEO within the next five years to provide global access to the internet. The company already provides service to over half-a-million users living in over 40 countries. See the Starlink Coverage Map at SpaceX's official website. Read the previous TESMANIAN story: Polaris Program donates SpaceX Starlink Internet to over 100 schools in Brazil & Chile

Featured Image Source: SpaceX founder Elon Musk via Twitter 

About the Author

Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo

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.

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