SpaceX launched the 46th mission of 2023 today, July 7. A twelve-times-flown Falcon 9 lifted off at at 12:29 p.m. PT from Space Launch Complex 4 East at the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, carrying 48 Starlink satellites to Low Earth Orbit (LEO).
It was the 12th flight for the first-stage booster, identified as B1063-12, which previously launched: NASA’s Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich spacecraft, NASA’s DART planetary defense demonstration mission, SpaceX’s Transporter-7 rideshare launch, Iridium OneWeb, and now eight Starlink missions. SpaceX is currently the only company in the world capable of reusing orbital-class rockets. It has now launched 244 missions, performed successful landings 205 times, and reused recovered boosters 178 times.
Liftoff! pic.twitter.com/1e7gjaaKHE— SpaceX (@SpaceX) July 7, 2023
The twelve-times-flown booster returned from orbit soon after propelling the upper-stage with the 48 Starlink satellites to LEO. It landed on the “Of Course I Still Love You” autonomous spaceport drone ship approximately 8-minutes after liftoff, which was stationed in the Pacific Ocean. SpaceX rocket landings are always impressive to watch, video clip linked below. Recovering rockets has enabled SpaceX to perform missions more frequently, at an average rate of one every 4.2 days since the year started. Learn why the drone ship is named “Of Course I Still Love You” in the previous TESMANIAN story: From Pages to the Stars: SpaceX's Homage to the ‘Culture’ Book Series by Iain M. Banks
Falcon 9’s first stage has landed on the Of Course I Still Love You droneship pic.twitter.com/GLczVa2rKn— SpaceX (@SpaceX) July 7, 2023
The fleet of 48 internet-beaming Starlink V1.2 (first-generation) satellites was released to orbit by Falcon 9’s upper-stage around an hour after liftoff. This fleet, designated as Starlink Group 5-13, increased the Starlink constellation size to ~4,413 satellites in LEO. The Group 5-13 fleet will operate at an altitude of 560 kilometers above Earth. SpaceX's groundbreaking satellite network has revolutionized internet access, bringing connectivity to remote regions for more than 1.5 million users worldwide. As the company continuously grows and enhances its Starlink network, SpaceX sets an industry-leading example with its commitment to reusing rockets and implementing sustainable satellite operations. With each successful launch, SpaceX moves closer to its ultimate goal of a global, high-speed internet service based on satellites, accessible to people in every corner of the world.
》 Author's note: My work is possible Thanks to everyone who reads Tesmanian.com. Write your thoughts in the comment section below. If you have any story suggestions or feedback, feel free to Direct Message me on Twitter: Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo @JaneidyEve Read my most recent stories here: Recent News Stories 《
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.