SpaceX Performs two Consecutive Starlink Missions

SpaceX Performs two Consecutive Starlink Missions

This past weekend, SpaceX successfully launched two Starlink satellites.

Space Launch Complex-40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida and Space Launch Complex-4E in California conducted the two launches yesterday evening, spaced slightly over five hours apart.

The 46 Starlinks that SpaceX launched into orbit yesterday mark the company’s 23rd and 24th missions of the year, as well as its fifth mission of the month.

Launched to the Southeast into a 42-degree orbital inclination by the Falcon 9 rocket, 23 Starlink satellites—dubbed Group 6-43—were transported to continue the expansion of the Group 6 constellation. After liftoff, the satellites deployed in a little more than an hour.

After launching 40 days prior, this Falcon 9, code-named B1077, made its eleventh launch and landing. After launching, the Falcon 9 touched down on the droneship “Just Read the Instructions” around 8.5 minutes later. Additionally, the fairings were reused for this trip; in just 25 days, both halves served as protection for the USSF-124 mission, setting a record for the quickest turnaround time for fairing reuse.

After just over five hours, Falcon 9 B1063 successfully finished its seventeenth mission. The last mission for B1063 was 47 days ago. After taking off from the Californian coast, the Falcon 9 took just over 8 minutes to land softly on the droneship “Of Course I Still Love You.”

On this operation, 23 Starlink satellites from the Group 7–17 batch were launched into an orbit with an inclination of 53 degrees. As a result of significant performance improvements for the Falcon 9, SpaceX has started deploying more Starlink satellites on missions.

Previously, SpaceX could only launch its 53-degree orbital inclination Starlink missions from California. However, a recent deal with the Bahamian government has made it possible for such missions to also launch from Florida, allowing SpaceX to further boost their launch frequency.

After spending over six months on the International Space Station, Crew 7 will return to Earth next for SpaceX. Crew Dragon Endurance is expected to splashdown today, March 12, having already undocked from the International Space Station with Crew 7.

Sanchita Patil

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