In the early hours of Monday, September 25, SpaceX continued its relentless pursuit of doubling its annual missions by successfully launching its 68th orbital-rocket flight of 2023. This accomplishment firmly positions the private aerospace company on track to achieve its audacious goal of up to 100 missions within the year.
The star of this remarkable mission was a sooty Falcon 9 rocket, taking to the skies at precisely 1:48 a.m. PT from the Space Launch Complex 4 East at the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The mission, aptly named Starlink Group 7-3, saw the rocket's payload fairing cradling 21 cutting-edge Starlink V2 Mini satellites destined for low-Earth orbit. "Starlink is available on all 7 continents, in over 60 countries and many more markets, connecting 2M+ active customers and counting with high-speed internet! Thank you to all of our customers around the world," announced company representatives on September 23.
Liftoff! pic.twitter.com/TebMGQkhcu— SpaceX (@SpaceX) September 25, 2023
This marked the sixth flight of the Falcon 9's first-stage booster, known as B1075-6. This stalwart booster had previously carried the U.S. military's Space Development Agency SDA-0A payload into the cosmos and had already played a vital role in five Starlink missions. As if to emphasize its reliability, the booster executed a flawless landing on the 'Of Course I Still Love You' droneship, stationed approximately 400 miles downrange in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California. This marked SpaceX's impressive 229th orbital-class rocket landing and the 201st instance of reusing a recovered booster—a testament to the company's unwavering commitment to driving down the cost of space access through reusability.
Falcon 9’s first stage has landed on the Of Course I Still Love You droneship pic.twitter.com/EHF885sPDr— SpaceX (@SpaceX) September 25, 2023
Approximately an hour after liftoff, the 21 Starlink V2 Mini satellites gracefully deployed into low-Earth orbit, their mission to expand global internet coverage. These advanced 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 launch represents the 22nd successful deployment of the V2 Mini Starlink satellites.
SpaceX's Starlink constellation is expanding at a breathtaking pace, with a total of 5,178 Starlink satellites launched into orbit since 2019 and nearly 4,827 still operational, according to data compiled by noted astronomer Jonathan McDowell. This milestone comes on the heels of SpaceX announcing that it has signed up over 2 million subscribers in more than 60 countries for its Starlink internet service, underlining the growing demand for reliable and high-speed internet connectivity in underserved and remote areas worldwide.
With this latest mission, SpaceX reaffirms its position as a frontrunner in the space industry, advancing its ambitious goals and delivering on its promise of making space more accessible and connected for people across remote regions in the world.
Starlink is available on all 7 continents, in over 60 countries and many more markets, connecting 2M+ active customers and counting with high-speed internet!— Starlink (@Starlink) September 23, 2023
Thank you to all of our customers around the world 🛰️🌎❤️ → https://t.co/D6L8BSisQq pic.twitter.com/jVfWTEfHkz
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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.