SpaceX launches 22 Starlink satellites, brings total launched over 5,000

Falcon 9 launches 22 Starlink satellites (Credit SpaceX)

22 Starlink V2 mini-satellites launched into low Earth orbit Saturday evening, bringing the total number launched to 5,005.

SpaceX, having just launched the Crew 7 in the early hours Saturday morning, then turned their attention to Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force station where a Falcon 9 was awaiting launch with 22 Starlink satellites.

Following a smooth countdown, the Falcon 9 launched to the Southeast at 9:05 p.m. ET (01:05 UTC on the 27th). A little extra attention was pointed toward the entry burn, as during the Crew 7 launch, it seemed a bit off-nominal, which has yet to be confirmed by SpaceX.

The entry and landing burns were as expected, and the first stage landed on the droneship ‘Just Read the Instructions.’ The two fairing halves of the Falcon 9 were plucked from the ocean by recovery ship ‘Doug’ and returned to Port Canaveral Monday afternoon.

The second stage continued on and entered into its parking orbit and coasted for ~46 minutes before reigniting its Merlin 1D Vacuum engine for 1 second, just enough for the proper orbit.

The 22 Starlink satellites, Group 6-11, then separated from the second stage an hour and five minutes after lift-off into a 43-degree orbital inclination.

The Falcon 9 that completed this launch was Booster 1080. B1080, a rookie of the fleet, completed its 3rd flight, having previously flown during the Axiom 2 mission and the Euclid Space Telescope mission.

It also seems that SpaceX has opted to no longer have hosted webcasts for Starlink missions. This was the 2nd Starlink mission to not feature a host and only provided video and mission control callouts. However, both of the missions have been on the weekend, so it’s possible they could return hosted webcasts during weekday launches.

As of now, SpaceX has 1 more launch from Florida this month, the Starlink 6-13 mission scheduled for NET than the evening of August 31st. The droneship ‘Just Read the Instructions’ has already departed and will be clear of the Space Coast as Tropical Storm Idalia is approaching the state. SpaceX has already sent Dragon recovery ship Megan further South to avoid bad weather.

The next launch for SpaceX will be from Vandenberg Space Force Base. The Transport and Tracking Layer (Tranche 0, Flight 2) is scheduled for no earlier than August 31st at 7:30 a.m. PT (14:30 UTC) and will feature an RTLS back at LZ-4.

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SpaceX launches 22 Starlink satellites, brings total launched over 5,000
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