Saturday, 2023 On August 26, SpaceX launched 22 Starlink satellites from Cape Canaveral. Image: SpaceX. At 9:05 p.m. EDT (0105 UTC) on Saturday, SpaceX launched its second Falcon 9 mission of the day, sending 22 second-generation Starlink satellites into orbit. This follows the successful launch of a four-member crew to the International Space Station earlier in the day.
More than 5,000 Starlink satellites have reached orbit after Saturday’s successful mission. According to statistics compiled by Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who maintains the spaceflight database, as of 2019 SpaceX has launched a total of 5,005 Starlinks.
After liftoff from Space Launch Complex 40, Falcon 9 rose to the southeast and aimed for an orbit tilted 43 degrees to the equator. After separating from the second stage after about two and a half minutes of flight, the first stage booster continued to land on the drone ship Just Read the Instructions, docked in the Atlantic Ocean east of the Bahamas.
Two second stage burns put the satellites into the required circular orbit. The 22 satellites separated about an hour, five minutes after launch.
The first stage booster, tail number B1080, completed its third mission. The initial flight was supposed to launch a private Axiom 2 crew to the International Space Station earlier this year on May 21. Then on July 1 it took off with the European Space Agency’s Euclid Space Telescope.
It was the 14th launch of the so-called V2 mini-satellites, which are larger and have four times the bandwidth of previous models. The full-sized V2 Starlink satellites were supposed to be launched by SpaceX’s reusable Starship vehicle, but the delayed Starship debut prompted SpaceX to create a shortened version of the satellites to be launched on the Falcon 9.
In early May, SpaceX announced that it had more than 1.5 million Starlink subscribers. The company’s Internet service is available in more than 60 countries.