While most of the U.S. was sleeping, SpaceX launched the 39th mission of the year which deployed a fleet of 52 Starlink satellites to orbit on Monday, June 12. A flight-proven Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 3:10 a.m. ET from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. SpaceX is rapidly expanding its broadband satellite internet coverage globally, with weekly Starlink launches scheduled. According to SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell, the company aims to launch a total of 100 missions this year – most are dedicated to completing the Starlink constellation.
Liftoff! pic.twitter.com/fkJy73gUyd— SpaceX (@SpaceX) June 12, 2023
The Falcon 9 first-stage booster that performed the Starlink Group 5-11 mission is identified as B1073-9. It was the 9th launch and landing for the booster which previously supported: the SES-22 mission, ispace’s HAKUTO-R Mission 1, Hispasat Amazonas Nexus mission, SpaceX’s NASA 27th Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-27) mission to the International Space Station, and now five Starlink missions. B1073-9 performed a propulsive landing on the ‘Just Read the Instructions’ droneship around eight-and-a-half minutes after liftoff, while the sea-going platform was around 640-kilometers downrange off Florida’s coast. It marked SpaceX’s 199th landing of an orbital-class rocket and the 172 time it reused a recovered booster.
Falcon 9’s first stage has landed on the Just Read the Instructions droneship pic.twitter.com/ttm6F0auDU— SpaceX (@SpaceX) June 12, 2023
The Starlink Group 5-11 mission deployed the 52 first-generation satellites into an operational orbit of 530-kilometers with an inclination of 43 degrees to Earth’s equator. As of today, SpaceX provides high-speed internet service to over 1.5 million subscribers living across all seven continents. Since 2019 SpaceX has launched a total of 4,595 Starlink satellites to Low Earth Orbit of which around 4,268 are still in orbit, according to data maintained by leading Astronomer Jonathan McDowell. The satellites are designed to completely burn in Earth’s atmosphere at the end of their useful life. In the coming years, SpaceX has permission from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to launch 7,500 second-generation Starlink satellites. The company already launched the first four fleets of these upgraded satellites.
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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.