SpaceX Launches A 53-Satellite Internet Constellation Into Orbit With A Used Rocket

Credit: Unsplash

New Starlink broadband satellites were launched by a repurposed SpaceX rocket and came to Earth for a spectacular sea touchdown this Wednesday (May 18).

Falcon 9 rocket carrying 53 Starlink satellites blasted out from the Kennedy Space Center’s Pad 39A throughout the Florida early morning light. The launch was delayed by 39 minutes until 6:59 a.m. EDT. Falcon 9, transporting 53 Starlink systems into orbit, was safely launched into space, SpaceX manufacturing manager Jessie Anderson announced in a live broadcast. In the span of five days, SpaceX had launched two more Starlink flights, one on May 13 while the other on May 14.

SpaceX’s drone ship – A Shortfall of Gravitas, was waiting for the Falcon 9 rocket when it came back To earth, and aboard equipment captured breathtaking footage of the whole drop. It was SpaceX’s 121st booster touchdown.

Satellite researcher Jonathan McDowell estimates that SpaceX’s broadband network, called Starlink, presently comprises much more than 2,300 satellites. SpaceX has now flown 21 missions in 2022, 14 of which have been devoted Starlink missions as of Wednesday’s mission; this is a significant increase in the number of specialized Starlink operations.

With 30,000 satellites planned for the following generation of the network, the Starlink constellation’s populace might grow significantly in the not-too-far period.

This was the seventh time this Falcon 9 first phase had been used in a mission. Once utilized to power the Falcon Heavy rocket, the launcher has already been employed to fly SpaceX’s Arabsat-6A missions and a flight test for the US Space Force, along with the COSMO-SkyMed Second Gen FM2 satellite for Italy, as well as an early Starlink operation.

For Elon Musk, the inventor and CEO of SpaceX, the crucial innovation in making big research endeavors like the Mars colony financially viable are quick and frequent reflight.

Susan Kowal
Susan Kowal is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor/advisor, and health enthusiast.