SpaceX launches next batch of Starlink satellites

Falcon 9 booster 1076 launching from SLC-40 (Credit Richard Angle)

Originally intending to launch the day before but delayed due to thunderstorms, the Falcon 9 lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at 8:50 p.m. last night, marking the 6th launch of the month so far.

The 22 V2 mini Starlink satellites were deployed just over an hour after launch into a 294-kilometer by 303-kilometer orbit at a 43-degree orbital inclination.

These satellites will now undergo the usual checkout process while their orbits are raised using their Argon Hall thrusters to achieve the proper orbits. Sometimes the satellites do not pass checkouts and are deorbited by SpaceX. So far, that has been the case for 11 of the V2 mini Starlinks.

The Falcon 9 that launched this mission was Booster 1076. The first stage made a successful landing on the droneship ‘Just Read the Instructions’ approximately 8 minutes after the lift-off. B1076 has now launched 6 times, previously launching 2 commercial payloads, 2 Starlink missions, and 1 resupply mission to the International Space Station.

SpaceX to launch 22 Version 2 mini Starlink satellites

This booster last launched on May 19th, 2023, a 66-day turnaround, which for SpaceX is actually on the longer side. This specific booster has had as little as 38 days between its 3rd and 4th flights. This is most likely due to numerous boosters being available for flights.

The fairing halves on this mission were also flight-proven, with 1 half flying for its 7th time and the other for its 8th time. The fairings will have their recovery attempted by the recovery vessel Bob.

This was the 135th consecutive Falcon recovery and the 47th Falcon 9 mission of the year, 49th overall.

Next up for SpaceX will be the Falcon Heavy launching for Launch Complex 39A carrying the Echostar 24 communications satellite.

The launch is currently targeted for no earlier than July 26th at 11:04 p.m. ET (02:34 UTC). The launch will also have both side core boosters landing back at landing zones 1 and 2 and the center core expended.

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SpaceX launches next batch of Starlink satellites
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