SpaceX, the leading aerospace manufacturer and space transportation company, continues to rewrite the record books in 2023 by successfully launching its 64th mission of the year. This accomplishment surpasses the company's previous record of 61 missions set in 2022 and reinforces SpaceX's position as a pioneer in rocket innovation and space exploration. The latest achievement took place on Monday, September 11, at 11:57 p.m. PT when a veteran Falcon 9 rocket, designated as B1071-11, lifted off from Space Launch Complex 4 East (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The mission's objective was to deploy 21 Starlink V2 Mini satellites into low-Earth orbit.
Liftoff! pic.twitter.com/MG9hIKZDJs— SpaceX (@SpaceX) September 12, 2023
What makes this launch particularly remarkable is the reuse of the Falcon 9 first-stage booster, which completed its 11th successful flight. This booster, known as B1071-11, has previously supported missions including the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office NROL-87 and NROL-85 missions, the SARah-1 payload, NASA's SWOT satellite, SpaceX's Transporter-8 rideshare launch, and now six Starlink missions. This achievement underscores SpaceX's unmatched level of rocket reusability, with orbital-class rockets having been landed a total of 225 times and recovered rocket boosters reused an astonishing 197 times.
SpaceX's ambitious pace of spaceflight shows no signs of slowing down. With the goal of completing 100 missions in 2023, the company plans to perform at least ten missions per month in the remaining four months of the year. This extraordinary level of activity is pushing the boundaries of space exploration and satellite technology.
The 21 Starlink V2 Mini satellites launched on this mission represent a significant advancement in the Starlink initiative. Part of the Group 7-2 mission, these satellites are the 18th fleet of upgraded V2 Mini satellites. Equipped with more powerful phased array antennas and utilizing E-band for backhaul, each satellite can deliver approximately four times more capacity than their V1 and V1.5 predecessors. This development promises an enhanced Starlink network with increased bandwidth, higher reliability, and the potential to connect millions more people worldwide to high-speed internet.
SpaceX's commitment to global internet connectivity has been further solidified by the Federal Communications Commission's approval to deploy 7,500 V2 satellites in the coming years. This positions SpaceX as a frontrunner in global internet connectivity, reaffirming its status as an industry pioneer. As of now, SpaceX has launched 5,091 Starlink satellites to Low Earth Orbit since 2019, with approximately 4,743 remaining in orbit, according to Astronomer Jonathan McDowell. With this latest mission, SpaceX continues to make significant strides toward its goal of providing internet access to underserved and remote regions across the globe. It marks another milestone in the company's remarkable journey of space exploration and innovation, as it continues to shape the future of space technology.
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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.