In a remarkable display of commitment to expanding its Starlink internet constellation, SpaceX successfully launched 23 Starlink satellites into orbit on Saturday, October 21, marking the company's second spaceflight of the day. The launch took place at 10:17 p.m. EDT from Florida's Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. This mission came on the heels of a separate SpaceX launch earlier in the day, in which 21 Starlink satellites were sent into orbit from California's Vandenberg Space Force Base, as reported by TESMANIAN.
Liftoff! pic.twitter.com/naoBaVOsf9— SpaceX (@SpaceX) October 22, 2023
The first-stage of the Falcon 9 rocket, identified as booster B1080-4, accomplished an impressive feat by returning to Earth for a vertical landing on the drone ship named 'A Shortfall of Gravitas' around 8-minutes after launch. This marked the fourth flight for this particular booster, which had previously launched the ESA Euclid satellite, participated in the Axiom Ax-2 crew mission, and completed another Starlink mission. SpaceX has consistently demonstrated its reusability capabilities by successfully recovering boosters, with this mission being the 210th time a booster has been reused. SpaceX's rapid launch cadence and ability to reuse boosters have not only allowed them to expand their Starlink constellation at an unprecedented rate but have also underscored their commitment to cost-effective and sustainable space exploration. As of this latest mission, SpaceX has executed a total of 275 missions and impressively landed 238 orbital-class rockets.
Falcon 9’s first stage has landed on the A Shortfall of Gravitas droneship pic.twitter.com/ic5lxPAYok— SpaceX (@SpaceX) October 22, 2023
The 23 Starlink satellites, which were part of the V2 Mini series, were deployed from the Falcon 9's upper stage approximately 65.5 minutes after liftoff. This marked the 29th launch of these improved satellites, showcasing SpaceX's dedication to enhancing global internet connectivity through its Starlink project. Notably, this mission carried the largest fleet of V2 Mini version satellites atop the Falcon 9 fairing; the company usually only launches batches of 20 or 21 because V2 satellites are much heavier than previous iterations.
According to data compiled by astronomer Jonathan McDowell, SpaceX has launched a total of 5,331 Starlink satellites into orbit since the inception of the project in 2019. Impressively, approximately 4,968 of these satellites remain operational, underlining the company's ongoing commitment to providing high-speed internet to over 2 million subscribers worldwide. The success of this mission further solidifies SpaceX's position as a leader in the space industry and highlights the company's significant contributions to global internet connectivity and sustainable space exploration.
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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.