SpaceX launches 15 Starlink V2 Mini satellites from California's Vandenberg Space Force Base

SpaceX launches 15 Starlink V2 Mini satellites from California's Vandenberg Space Force Base

On July 19, SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched 15 Starlink V2 'Mini' satellites into Low Earth Orbit (LEO), following a one-day delay. The launch took place at 9:09 p.m. Pacific Time from California's Vandenberg Space Force Base. The initial attempt, scheduled for early Wednesday had been aborted with only five seconds remaining in the countdown due to an alert from the rocket's upper stage. 



The Starlink V2 'Mini' satellites are part of the sixth fleet of their kind to be launched into orbit. These smaller iterations are paving the way for future second-generation satellites, which will be much larger and heavier, to be launched by Starship. Company representatives have stated that the V2 Minis come with essential technologies, including more powerful phased array antennas and the use of E-band for backhaul. This enables Starlink to provide approximately four times more capacity per satellite than earlier versions. Consequently, the upgraded network will offer increased bandwidth, higher reliability, and connect millions of additional people worldwide with high-speed internet.

The launch utilized a previously-flown Falcon 9 rocket, identified as B1071-10, which has a remarkable track record. This was the booster's tenth successful liftoff and landing. It had previously launched a variety of missions, including the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office NROL-87 and NROL-85 mission, SARah-1, NASA SWOT satellite, SpaceX Transporter-8 rideshare mission, and five other Starlink missions. The first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket executed its vertical landing as planned, touching down precisely on the SpaceX droneship 'Of Course I Still Love You' approximately 9.5 minutes after launch. With this achievement, SpaceX has now landed a total of 208 orbital-class rockets and reused them 181 times, further advancing their goal of reusability in space missions.



While the first stage successfully returned to Earth, the Falcon 9's upper stage continued its journey, carrying the 15 Starlink V2 'Mini' satellites to LEO. Deployment of the satellites was expected around 15 minutes after launch, with confirmation of success expected shortly afterward. SpaceX's Starlink project aims to create a vast constellation of broadband satellites to provide global high-speed internet coverage. As of now, the constellation consists of 4,497 Starlink satellites in LEO, according to astronomer Jonathan McDowell who closely tracks the satellites. However, the company has permission to launch a total of 12,000 Starlink satellites, with 7,500 of them planned as next-generation Starlink V2 satellites to further boost the network's capabilities and introduce satellite-to-cellular service. Thursday's liftoff marked SpaceX's 48th orbital mission of the year, showcasing the company's ambitious and rapid launch pace as they continue to expand their satellite internet network to serve millions of users worldwide.

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Featured Images Source: SpaceX 

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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