23 Starlink satellites join constellation after SpaceX’s early morning launch

Falcon 9 launching from SLC-40 (Credit Richard Angle

23 more Starlink satellites were successfully launched at 2:47 AM ET (07:47 UTC) from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

The launch was originally scheduled for launch at 1:47 AM ET, but the Falcon 9 was raised to vertical at SLC-40 a bit later than expected, resulting in just a slight delay. Once the rocket was raised, the countdown flowed to a smooth launch for SpaceX.

These 23 Starlink satellites are a part of Group 6-29 and were launched into the same 43-degree orbital inclination as all of the previous Group 6 satellites. They were deployed just over an hour after launching from SLC-40.

This was the 86th orbital mission of the year for SpaceX, which is still targeting to fit 100 launches in 2023, and at the rate of launches, there is a good chance SpaceX will meet this goal as long as no unforeseen delays occur.

If SpaceX wants to eclipse this goal in 2024, they would likely either need to utilize the ability of the Falcon 9 to return to the landing site or introduce another droneship. At the current rate of launches, their fleet of drone ships and fairing recovery vessels are near their limit, and in some cases, the fairing recovery ship has been staying out for 2 consecutive missions to retrieve 4 fairing halves before heading back into Port Canaveral.

With this launch, another 15-flight booster was added to the fleet, with Booster 1067 joining the ranks and making it 6 boosters with at least 15 flights to space and back.

B1067 made a smooth landing on ‘A Shortfall of Gravitas’ about eight and a half minutes after liftoff and will return to Port Canaveral in the next few days.

Coming up next is yet another Starlink mission, but this time there is a five-day break for crews to allow them a chance to get home for Thanksgiving. As of now, the next mission is no earlier than November 27th.

Do you think SpaceX will make it to 100 missions this year, or will fleet limitations or other delays keep them just short?

Questions or comments? Shoot me an email at, or Tweet me @RDAnglePhoto.

23 Starlink satellites join constellation after SpaceX’s early morning launch
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