Today, June 22, SpaceX deployed another fleet of internet-beaming Starlink satellites from the West Coast with a flight-proven Falcon 9. The rocket lifted off at 12:19 a.m. PT from Space Launch Complex 4 East at the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, carrying 47 Starlink satellites to Low Earth Orbit (LEO). SpaceX is arranging Phase 1 of the Starlink constellation in five orbital shells with different parameters. Today’s mission is called Starlink Group 5-7, it deployed first-generation satellites that will operate in orbital Shell 5 which consists of an altitude of 530 kilometers (km) with an inclination of 43 degrees to Earth’s equator. This mission marks SpaceX’s 43rd launch of 2023 (including Starship flight test), out of 100 it has planned in its launch manifest. This year the company plans to double what it launched in 2022.
Liftoff! pic.twitter.com/z3Gdy7aiqp— SpaceX (@SpaceX) June 22, 2023
The Falcon 9 first-stage booster that propelled this mission to orbit is identified as B1075-4, which has now flown four times. It previously launched the U.S. Space Development Agency’s Tranche 0 payload and now three Starlink missions. Soon after propelling the upper-stage to orbit, the booster returned with a propulsive landing on the ‘Of Course I Still Love You’ droneship, situated in the Pacific Ocean around 660 km downrange. As of today, SpaceX has landed orbital-class rockets 202 times and reused recovered boosters a total of 175 times.SpaceX is currently the only aerospace company in the world capable of such rocket reusability, setting a great example for the industry to follow suit.
Falcon 9’s first stage has landed on the Of Course I Still Love You droneship pic.twitter.com/iqHOnON7Tz— SpaceX (@SpaceX) June 22, 2023
The 47 internet-beaming Starlink satellites were released to LEO by Falcon 9’s upper-stage at around an hour after liftoff. The Starlink Group 5-7 mission is SpaceX’s 84th operational Starlink mission, boosting the total number of Starlink satellites launched to 4,642. However, only around 4,312 are currently in orbit around the Earth – according to data maintained by Astronomer Jonathan McDowell. SpaceX has been launching Starlink satellites since 2019, some satellites lost orbit due to several factors ranging from technical issues to magnetic solar storms that cause the low-orbiting satellites to fall into Earth’s atmosphere. SpaceX designed Starlink satellites to be able to burn completely in Earth’s atmosphere upon reentry to avoid creating space debris. The operational satellites currently beam internet to over 1.5 million users living across all seven continents.
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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.