On August 19, SpaceX launched the Starlink Group 4-27 mission which was the 25th launch of 53 satellites into orbital Shell 4. SpaceX plans to arrange Phase 1 of the Starlink constellation into five orbital shells with different parameters, detailed in the table shown below. Friday's launch boosted the total number of Starlink satellites launched to 3,108, of which around 2,844 remain in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), according to data by leading astronomer Jonathan McDowell.
On Friday, a previously-flown Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 3:21 p.m. ET from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. It marked the 9th flight for the Falcon 9 first-stage booster identified as B1062-9 which previously launched: the U.S. Space Force's GPS III Space Vehicle 04 and GPS III Space Vehicle 05, SpaceX's all-civilian Inspiration4 mission in September 2021, the Axiom Ax-1 crew, Egypt's Nilesat 301 satellite, and now a total of four Starlink missions.
Liftoff! pic.twitter.com/6CExPZZHwc— SpaceX (@SpaceX) August 19, 2022
Soon after launching the upper-stage to orbit, booster B1062-9 landed on the 'A Shortfall of Gravitas' autonomous droneship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean approximately 656-kilometers downrange. To date, SpaceX has landed 137 orbital-class rockets and reused first-stage boosters 113 times. Being capable of reusing Falcon 9 boosters enables SpaceX to conduct frequent cost-effective space flights.
Falcon 9’s first stage has landed on the A Shortfall of Gravitas droneship pic.twitter.com/uTqAuysTAh— SpaceX (@SpaceX) August 19, 2022
The company is launching a Falcon 9 mission every 6.4 days in 2022 and has deployed around 300,000 kilograms (330.693 U.S. tons) to orbit, which is more than all the global mass launched to orbit this year by other aerospace companies combined. The Starlink Group 4-27 satellites were deployed to LEO around an hour after liftoff. Each of the 53 satellites weigh about 295 kilograms (650 pounds). It will take a couple of weeks for these satellites to reach their operational orbits of around 232-by-336 kilometers (144 miles and 208 miles), at an inclination of 53.2 degrees to the equator. McDowell estimates that 2,313 satellites are already operational, the rest are still maneuvering into their designated orbits. The Starlink constellation already provides high-speed internet to over 500,000 subscribers living across 37 countries. Visit Starlink.com for more information.
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.