SpaceX is a leader in the aerospace industry. The company is performing multiple rocket flights on a weekly basis to rapidly increase its Starlink broadband satellite network's capabilities. On Friday, August 12, SpaceX launched its 54th Starlink mission from the West Coast just a couple days after launching the 53rd Starlink mission from the East Coast on Tuesday, August 9. Being capable of reusing orbital-class rocket boosters enables SpaceX to increase its launch pace. During Friday's Starlink Group 3-3 mission, SpaceX reused a Falcon 9 rocket a 10th time. The first-stage booster is identified as B1061-10. It lifted off at 2:40 p.m. PT from Space Launch Complex 4 East (SLC-4E) at the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, carrying a total of 46 satellites to Low Earth Orbit.
Liftoff! pic.twitter.com/cPTwPQZkxk— SpaceX (@SpaceX) August 12, 2022
SpaceX landed B1061-10 on the 'Of Course I Still Love You' autonomous drone ship approximately eight-and-a-half minutes after liftoff, which was stationed in the Pacific Ocean. It marked the 10th flight and landing for the particular Falcon 9 first-stage booster, which previously launched SpaceX's first operational NASA Crew-1 flight to the International Space Station (ISS), NASA Crew-2, the SXM-8 satellite, NASA CRS-23 cargo mission to ISS, NASA’s Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) mission, SpaceX's Transporter-4 and Transporter-5 rideshare-dedicated missions, the Globalstar FM15 communications satellite, and now two Starlink missions. To date, SpaceX has landed a total of 136 orbital-class rockets.
Falcon 9’s first stage has landed on the Of Course I Still Love You droneship pic.twitter.com/fota9MpHu6— SpaceX (@SpaceX) August 12, 2022
The 46 Starlink Group 3-3 satellites were deployed to orbit around an hour after liftoff. SpaceX founder Elon Musk shared that this newly launched fleet of satellites will operate in Polar Orbit where each will beam internet to some of the most remote places on Earth, including Alaska. The Group 3-3 satellites are the third launch into the third orbital shell (Shell 3) of the Starlink constellation. SpaceX plans to arrange Phase 1 of the constellation into five orbital shells with different parameters, detailed in the table shown below. Friday's launch increased the total number of Starlink satellites launched to 3,055, of which around 2,794 remain in Low Earth Orbit, according to data by leading Astronomer Jonathan McDowell. The data states 2,229 satellites are currently operational. Starlink provides internet to over 500,000 subscribers living across 37 countries. Visit Starlink.com for more information.
Another orbital plane of polar satellites https://t.co/UDl6wStLuT— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 13, 2022
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.