SpaceX launches 53 extra Starlink satellites – Spaceflight Now

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Reside protection of the countdown and launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complicated 39A at NASA’s Kennedy House Heart in Florida. The Starlink 4-17 mission will launch SpaceX’s subsequent batch of 53 Starlink broadband satellites. Observe us on Twitter.

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SpaceX launched one other batch of 53 Starlink web satellites at 5:42 a.m. EDT (0942 GMT) Friday from the Kennedy House Heart. The booster nailed its touchdown on SpaceX’s drone ship within the Atlantic Ocean, finishing its twelfth flight to area.

SpaceX groups at Cape Canaveral rolled the Falcon 9 rocket from its hangar to pad 39A and raised it vertical Thursday. Starting at T-minus 35 minutes, the launch crew will oversee loading of kerosene and liquid oxygen propellants into the Falcon 9 by way of an automatic, computer-controlled sequencer.

Helium pressurant may even flowed into the rocket. Within the ultimate seven minutes of the countdown, the Falcon 9’s Merlin important engines might be thermally conditioned for flight by way of a process often known as “chilldown.” The Falcon 9’s steering and vary security methods may even be configured for launch at 5:42 a.m.

The 229-foot-tall (70-meter) Falcon 9 rocket will vector its 1.7 million kilos of thrust — produced by 9 Merlin engines — to steer northeast over the Atlantic Ocean.

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The rocket will surpass the velocity of sound in about one minute, then shut down its 9 important engines two-and-a-half minutes after liftoff. The booster will detach and fireplace pulses from chilly fuel management thrusters, then lengthen titanium grid fins to assist steer the car again into the ambiance.

Two braking burns will decelerate the rocket for touchdown on the drone ship round 400 miles (650 kilometers) downrange.

This booster — tail quantity B1058 — will launch on its twelfth mission, changing into the third stage in SpaceX’s stock to succeed in that milestone. The booster debuted in Could 2020 with the launch of the primary take a look at flight of SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft to hold astronauts.

About eight-and-a-half minutes after Friday’s launch, the booster landed on the drone ship “A Shortfall of Gravitas” positioned roughly due east of Charleston, South Carolina.

The touchdown will happen simply previous to shutdown of the higher stage engine. The rocket will coast midway around the globe earlier than reigniting the Merlin-Vacuum higher stage engine about 45 minutes into the mission, paving the best way for separation of the 53 Starlink satellites at T+plus 54 minutes, 30 seconds.

A Falcon 9 rocket stands on pad 39A earlier than the Starlink 4-17 mission. Credit score: Stephen Clark / Spaceflight Now

Retention rods holding the satellites right into a flat-packed configuration on the rocket will jettison, permitting the Starlink platforms to fly away from the second stage. They’ll unfurl photo voltaic arrays and run by way of automated activation steps, then use krypton-fueled ion engines to maneuver into their operational orbit.

The Falcon 9 will purpose to deploy the satellites in a near-circular orbit ranging in altitude between 189 miles and 197 miles (304 by 317 kilometers), at an orbital inclination of 53.2 levels to the equator. The satellites will use on-board propulsion to do the remainder of the work to succeed in a round orbit 335 miles (540 kilometers) above Earth.

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The Starlink satellites on Friday’s mission will fly in considered one of 5 orbital “shells” utilized in SpaceX’s international web community. After reaching their operational orbit, the satellites will enter business service and start beaming broadband alerts to customers, who can buy Starlink service and connect with the community with a SpaceX-supplied floor terminal.

After Friday’s mission, SpaceX may have launched 2,494 Starlink satellites thus far, together with spacecraft that had been decommissioned or suffered failures. Greater than 2,100 of these satellites are in orbit and functioning as of this week, in line with an inventory maintained by Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist who carefully tracks spaceflight exercise.

Learn our mission preview story for extra particulars.

ROCKET: Falcon 9 (B1058.12)

PAYLOAD: 53 Starlink satelllites (Starlink 4-17)

LAUNCH SITE: LC-39A, Kennedy House Heart, Florida

LAUNCH DATE: Could 6, 2022

LAUNCH TIME: 5:42:00 a.m. EDT (0942:00 GMT)

WEATHER FORECAST: 90% probability of acceptable climate; Reasonable threat of higher degree winds; Low threat of unfavorable situations for booster restoration

BOOSTER RECOVERY: “A Shortfall of Gravitas” drone ship east of Charleston, South Carolina


TARGET ORBIT: 189 miles by 197 miles (304 kilometers by 317 kilometers), 53.2 levels inclination


  • T+00:00: Liftoff
  • T+01:12: Most aerodynamic strain (Max-Q)
  • T+02:31: First stage important engine cutoff (MECO)
  • T+02:35: Stage separation
  • T+02:41: Second stage engine ignition
  • T+02:48: Fairing jettison
  • T+06:14: First stage entry burn ignition (three engines)
  • T+06:33: First stage entry burn cutoff
  • T+08:04: First stage touchdown burn ignition (one engine)
  • T+08:26: First stage touchdown
  • T+08:47: Second stage engine cutoff (SECO 1)
  • T+45:28: Second stage restart
  • T+45:29: Second stage engine cutoff (SECO 2)
  • T+54:30: Starlink satellite tv for pc separation
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  • 152nd launch of a Falcon 9 rocket since 2010
  • one hundred and sixtieth launch of Falcon rocket household since 2006
  • twelfth launch of Falcon 9 booster B1058
  • 133rd Falcon 9 launch from Florida’s House Coast
  • 142nd launch general from pad 39A
  • forty eighth SpaceX launch general from pad 39A
  • ninety fifth flight of a reused Falcon 9 booster
  • forty fourth devoted Falcon 9 launch with Starlink satellites
  • 18th Falcon 9 launch of 2022
  • 18th launch by SpaceX in 2022
  • 18th orbital launch primarily based out of Cape Canaveral in 2022

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Observe Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.

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