Falcon 9 takes another flight with 22 Starlink satellites

Falcon 9 launching a Starlink mission from SLC-4E in California (Credit SpaceX)

Launching last night at 12:03 am PT (08:03 UTC) from Space Launch Complex 4 East at Vandenberg Space Base in California, a Falcon 9 delivered another batch of 22 Starlink satellites into orbit.

This mission marked the 91st orbital launch of the year for the company. 22 Starlink satellites were inserted into a 53-degree orbital inclination and separated from the 2nd stage just over an hour after lift-off.

The midnight launch of the Starlink Group 7-8 mission (Credit SpaceX)

Now here is where I would normally place the lift-off clip from X, but during last night’s launch, the stream did not work during the launch and only picked up the mission some 20 seconds into flight with bad buffering and, as of now, is still having issues on X to replay the mission.

So here is a quick recap, the rocket launched on time, passed through maximum dynamic pressure (Max Q), and completed stage separation, at which point the Falcon 9 first stage began its journey back, and the 2nd stage continued into orbit.

As for the first stage, it was Booster 1071 that delivered the Starlinks into orbit. It completed its 13th trip after previously launching 6 Starlink missions, 2 top secret spy satellites, 2 Transporter missions, 1 science mission for CNES, NASA, and CSA, and the SARah-1 mission.

B1071 made another successful landing on the droneship “Of Course I Still Love You” eight and a half minutes after launch. The booster had a 27-day turnaround since its last mission, a bit quicker than average thanks to that mission landing at landing zone 4 instead of a droneship. The launch site had a turnaround time of just ~6.5 and half days, making it one of the fastest, if not the fastest time between launches for SpaceX from Vandenberg. Shortening that time a bit further will enable them to increase their launch cadence next year.

Next up is the Falcon Heavy OTV-7 (X-37B spaceplane) mission, which SpaceX has yet to confirm, but Space Systems Command public affairs in a press release showed a launch time at 8:14 pm ET (01:14 UTC) with a 10-minute launch window on December 10th.

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Falcon 9 takes another flight with 22 Starlink satellites
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