SpaceX Falcon 9 lights up the Southern Californian skies with Starlink launch

SpaceX successfully launched more Starlink satellites on Monday night thanks to another Falcon 9 takeoff.

The launch took place at 7:28 pm PT, setting up the spectacular view for the Southern Californian locals.

SpaceX successfully launched the 22 Starlink satellites from Space Launch Complex-4E at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California last night just after sunset.

The Sun had set at the launch pad, but as the Falcon 9 ascended, the rocket flew back into the sunlight, which lit the exhaust plume. However, the real show didn’t come until stage separation, and once stage 2 ignited, the exhaust plume expanded dramatically. While that stage with the 22 Starlinks attached continued, the first stage was still visible as it was firing its cold gas thrusters to re-orient itself for its entry burn and eventual landing, but in a rare sight, the fairings were also visible firing their own thrusters to stabilize for their re-entry and splashdown.

The 22 V2 mini-satellites, Group 7-16, were launched to the South East and into a 53-degree orbital trajectory, the same as previous Group 7 launches. Those Starlink satellites will now undergo checkouts and begin raising their orbits over the next couple of months.

This mission raised the total number of Starlink satellites launched to 6033, with 5138 being operational.

Booster 1075 was the Falcon 9 tasked with launching this mission. B1075 has now launched and landed 10 times, all of which came from California. This booster has previously launched 8 Starlink missions, a mission for the U.S. Space Force, and a Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite for Germany.

Following its portion of the flight, B1075 then began descending back into the night, aiming for a smooth landing and at just over 8 minutes after liftoff, the Falcon 9 landed on the droneship ‘Of Course I Still Love You’ where it will now be brought back to the Port of Los Angeles and readied for its 11th mission.

This was SpaceX’s 26th orbital launch of the year, and the company targets 148 total launches in 2024.

SpaceX’s next mission is the CRS-30 resupply mission to the International Space Station, which must be completed no earlier than Thursday, March 21st, at 4:55 pm ET.

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

Richard Angle: Launch journalist, specializing in launch photography. Based on the Space Coast, a short drive from Cape Canaveral and the SpaceX launch pads.
Related Post
Disqus Comments Loading...