SpaceX marked another milestone in its ambitious mission schedule on Friday, September 29, by successfully launching its 69th mission of 2023 (excluding the Starship test flight). The private aerospace company's relentless pace is keeping it firmly on track to achieve its goal of up to 100 missions within the year.
The impressive mission featured a ten-times-flown Falcon 9 rocket, which lifted off from Launch Pad-40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 10:00 p.m. EDT, following a delay of more than three hours due to weather conditions. The rocket's payload included 22 Starlink V2 Mini satellites destined to expand SpaceX's global internet service coverage.
Liftoff! pic.twitter.com/vL77mdJ91d— SpaceX (@SpaceX) September 30, 2023
As the Falcon 9 rocket soared into the overcast sky above Florida's Space Coast, it followed a trajectory southeastward. After stage separation, the rocket booster, identified as B1069-10, gracefully descended and made a pinpoint landing on the drone ship "A Shortfall of Gravitas," positioned about 420 miles (675 km) downrange in the Atlantic east of the Bahamas. This remarkable achievement reaffirmed SpaceX's commitment to reusability, with the booster now having supported ten separate missions, including: NASA CRS-24, Eutelsat HOTBIRD 13F, OneWeb 1, SES-18, SES-19, and six Starlink missions. The company's rocket-reuse record currently stands at 17 flights, held by two different boosters. As of today, SpaceX has launched 268 missions, landed orbital-class rockets 230 times, and reused recovered Falcon 9 first-stage boosters 202 times. SpaceX is the world’s only launch provider that has achieved such reliable orbital-class rocket reusability.
Approximately 50-minutes after liftoff, the 22 Starlink V2 Mini satellites were deployed into low-Earth orbit. These cutting-edge satellites are designed to deliver four times the bandwidth of their predecessors, solidifying SpaceX's position as a dominant player in the internet service provider industry. This successful deployment marked the 23rd mission of its kind. SpaceX's Starlink constellation continues its rapid expansion, with a total of 5,200 Starlink satellites launched into orbit since 2019, according to data compiled by noted astronomer Jonathan McDowell. Of these, approximately 4,845 remain operational. SpaceX's Starlink internet service has also been gaining significant traction, with the company recently announcing it had signed up over 2 million subscribers in more than 60 countries, underscoring its growing impact on the internet service landscape.
SpaceX's relentless commitment to innovation and reusability continues to reshape the space industry, and with more missions planned for the remainder of 2023, the company is set to maintain its lead in the private aerospace sector.
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Featured Images 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.