SpaceX Launches 22 Satellites for Starlink MissionSpaceX Launches 22 Satellites for Starlink Mission
The mission is the third of three back-to-back SpaceX launches over the weekend
November 20, 2023
SpaceX has successfully launched 22 low-Earth orbit satellites as part of its Starlink network.
The launch took place at the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.
“This was the 15th flight for the first stage booster supporting this mission,” according to SpaceX. “[The mission] previously launched Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich, DART, Transporter-7, Iridium OneWeb, SDA-0B and 10 Starlink missions.”
A livestream of the launch was posted on X, formerly Twitter.
The satellites were launched on the company’s Falcon 9 rocket, which then successfully landed on the drone ship Of Course I Still Love You, stationed in the Pacific Ocean.
The satellites will join SpaceX’s growing Starlink network, an internet constellation designed to provide internet access to remote areas around the world.
The launch is the third in a series of back-to-back missions from the company over the weekend.
On Friday, SpaceX launched 23 Starlink satellites from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, while on Saturday the company launched the second-ever test flight of Starship, SpaceX’s heavy-duty launch vehicle designed to take astronauts to the moon.
Friday’s satellite mission was reportedly successful, with the Falcon 9 rocket returning to the drone ship, Just Read the Instructions, in the Atlantic Ocean.
The Starship launch, however, ended roughly eight minutes after liftoff, with SpaceX reporting the rocket’s booster experienced “rapid unscheduled disassembly” after separating from the spacecraft.
The automated flight termination system was then triggered after ground control lost connection to the rocket.
"With a test like this, success comes from what we learn, and today's test will help us improve Starship's reliability as SpaceX seeks to make life multiplanetary," SpaceX said on X.
The launch marks the company’s second attempt at sending a Starship on a near-orbital trip. An initial test flight in April failed due to the booster “leaking propellant” and causing several fires, causing SpaceX to abort the mission.
“SpaceX has since implemented leak mitigations and improved testing on both engine and booster hardware,” according to a company statement. “As an additional corrective action, SpaceX has significantly expanded Super Heavy’s pre-existing fire suppression system in order to mitigate against future engine bay fires.”
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