In yet another achievement, SpaceX successfully launched its 63rd mission of 2023, surpassing its previous record of 61 missions set in 2022. The company's goal is to complete a total of 100 missions before the year ends. Their pace of spaceflight is expected to increase significantly as there are only four months left in the year. SpaceX founder Elon Musk says the company aims to perform 10 missions a month before the year ends.
The mission, which took place on September 8, marked a significant leap forward for the Starlink initiative and the company's commitment to global internet connectivity. At precisely 11:12 p.m. EDT, a flight-proven Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, carrying 22 of SpaceX's advanced Starlink V2 Mini satellites into orbit. This successful launch extended SpaceX's record-breaking streak for the number of missions in a single year.
Liftoff! pic.twitter.com/bxVowIiW7p— SpaceX (@SpaceX) September 9, 2023
One of the standout moments of the mission was the remarkable return of the Falcon 9 rocket's first stage. Approximately 8.5 minutes after liftoff, the rocket stage safely landed on the SpaceX droneship named "A Shortfall of Gravitas," stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. This landing marked the seventh successful launch and landing for this particular booster, having previously completed missions such as CRS-26, OneWeb Launch 16, Intelsat IS-40e, and three other Starlink missions. SpaceX has now performed 262 spaceflights, landed orbital-class rockets 224 times, and reused recovered boosters 196 times.
Falcon 9’s first stage has landed on the A Shortfall of Gravitas droneship pic.twitter.com/aNWmflqvNi— SpaceX (@SpaceX) September 9, 2023
SpaceX's achievements in 2023 are pushing the boundaries of space exploration and satellite technology. The Starlink initiative, in particular, took a significant leap forward with this launch. The 22 Starlink V2 Mini satellites deployed are part of the Group 6-14 mission and represent the 17th fleet of upgraded V2 Mini satellites. These advanced satellites feature more powerful phased array antennas and utilize E-band for backhaul, allowing each satellite to deliver approximately four times more capacity than their predecessors. This advancement 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 is further solidified by their Federal Communications Commission approval to deploy 7,500 V2 satellites in the coming years. This positions SpaceX at the forefront of global internet connectivity, reaffirming their status as a pioneering force in the industry. As of now, SpaceX has launched over 5,000 Starlink satellites to Low Earth Orbit since 2019, with approximately 4,724 remaining in orbit, according to Astronomer Jonathan McDowell. With this latest mission, SpaceX continues to make strides towards its goal of providing internet access to underserved and remote regions across the globe, marking another milestone in the company's remarkable journey of space exploration and innovation.
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Featured Images 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.