SpaceX closes in on launch record with most recent Starlink launch

Falcon 9 launches 22 Starlink satellites (Credit Richard Angle)

22 V2 mini Starlink satellites are well on their way to their operational orbits today following last night’s successful launch atop a Falcon 9, and SpaceX is closing in on its record for launches in a calendar year.

Launching at 10:41 p.m. ET (02:41 UTC), the Falcon 9 thundered away from Space Launch Complex 40 in Florida on its 4th mission. The mission was originally intended to launch earlier in the night, but SpaceX pushed the launch slightly later either for weather or technical reasons.

Once SpaceX was in the countdown, fueling proceeded smoothly as offshore thunderstorms flashed in the distance. These 22 V2 mini Starlink satellites, Group 6-8, were launched on a South Easterly trajectory and inserted into a 43-degree orbital inclination.

Since the July 15th launch of Starlink Group 5-15 (the last V 1.5 batch), all Starlinks launched will be the V2 mini Starlinks. SpaceX only launches up to 22 at a time since they are bigger than their predecessors.

The Starlink V 1.5 satellites weighed in at ~306 kg (675 lbs) compared to the V2 mini Starlinks coming in at ~800 kg (1,800 lbs). While launching fewer satellites per launch may not seem ideal, the V2 mini Starlinks are actually much more capable.

The V2 mini variant features two solar arrays, Argon Hall thrusters for better on-orbit maneuvering and offers ~4 times more bandwidth than the earlier versions. The full-size V2 Starlink will eventually be launched on Starship, as those do not fit inside a Falcon 9 fairing.

It’s unknown when those launches will occur, but SpaceX made more progress this weekend with the static fire test of Booster 9.

As mentioned earlier, this was the 4th mission for Falcon 9 B1078. It landed on A Shortfall of Gravitas just under eight-and-a-half minutes after launch. The fairing halves for this mission were flying for the 8th and 10th times and were to be picked up from the ocean by the SpaceX recovery ship Doug.

This was the 53rd mission for SpaceX this year, well ahead of their pace at the same time last year, which was their record-setting 61 launches. SpaceX could break this record next month.

Coming up next is another Starlink launch, this time from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, which could launch as early as 9 p.m. PT (04:00 UTC) tonight. However, SpaceX has yet to confirm this.

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

SpaceX closes in on launch record with most recent Starlink launch
To Top