Today, another batch of SpaceX’s Starlink satellites was successfully launched into space.
At 11:35 a.m. ET (15:35 GMT), SpaceX lifted 56 Starlink satellites from a Falcon 9 rocket. The first stage of the Falcon 9 successfully landed on Just Read The Instructions, a nearby drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean, eight minutes after taking off from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. After nine minutes of flight, the rocket’s second stage achieved nominal orbital insertion.
According to today’s launch commentary from Atticus Vadera, a propulsion engineer at SpaceX, the mission was SpaceX’s 43rd launch of the year and 242 successful Falcon 9 flights to date. This was the fourth Starlink mission for this particular booster, which has supported numerous other missions, including a resupply mission to the International Space Station known as CRS-24 and numerous launches of commercial satellites.
According to Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist and satellite tracker, SpaceX has already launched more than 4,500 Starlink satellites into space, and approximately 4,200 of those satellites are currently operational.
However, SpaceX wants to maintain the megaconstellation’s expansion. The company has applied for approval for another 30,000 broadband satellites and is authorized to send 12,000 of them into space.