SpaceX wraps up Starship launch with two Starlink missions
While the Starship spacecraft captured all the attention this weekend in its second integrated flight test, SpaceX also launched two Starlink missions from Florida and California.
Florida was in the lead. Just hours before Starship’s launch, SpaceX launched 23 Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Base at 12:05 a.m. ET (05:05 UTC) on November 18.
The 23 Starlink satellites were inserted into a 43-degree orbital inclination as part of Constellation 6-28. The satellites were deployed just over an hour after liftoff.
The Falcon 9 assigned to launch Group 6-28 was Booster 1069. B1069 completed its 11th flight since its debut on the CRS-24 mission in December of 2021, when it suffered a collision due to bad weather, and the engines collided with the aircraft. com. octagrabber. The booster was eventually refurbished and is now a veteran of the SpaceX fleet.
This mission used the “Read Instructions Only” drone for a powered landing. SpaceX also recovered both fairing halves for reuse on a future mission.
Jumping to the West Coast, SpaceX launched 22 Starlink satellites from Vandenberg Space Force Base this morning at 2:30 a.m. PT (10:30 UTC).
The 22 satellites were inserted into an orbital inclination of 53 degrees as part of Ensemble 7-7. The satellite was deployed just over an hour after launch.
As for the booster for this mission, Booster 1063 has completed its fifteenth flight, bringing the number of boosters to five with at least 15 flights. After separating from the second stage, B1063 made a successful landing on the “Of Course I Still Love You” drone off the coast of the Baja Peninsula.
With these two launches, SpaceX has now launched more than 5,445 Starlink satellites into orbit, with 4,500 satellites now in their operational orbits according to Jonathan McDowell’s Starlink tracker. The 45 new Starlinks will begin retraction and orbit raising operations over the next two months as the constellation continues to grow.
While it took 45 Falcon 9 rockets to launch twice, once Starship is online, it can launch twice that in a single mission depending on the type of Starlink satellite used.
Next up for SpaceX, another Starlink mission from SLC 40 in Florida, is currently scheduled to take place no later than Tuesday, November 21 at 11pm ET (04:00 UTC on the 22nd).
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