SpaceX successfully launches 51 Starlink satellites

Credit: SpaceX

SpaceX successfully launched 51 additional Starlink satellites today, bringing its grand total to 4,391.

Launching from Vandenberg Space Force Base at 1:09 PM PT (20:09 UTC), Starlink group 2-9 took flight aboard the Falcon 9. This was a rare moment of no fog around the SLC-4E, one of the more picturesque launch pads in the world.

With the on-time launch, this marks one of the quicker turnaround times of SLC-4E at just 12 days. These quick turnaround times are essential for SpaceX to maintain its rapid launch cadence and the eventual goal of up to 100 launches in just one year.

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The Falcon 9 launching this batch of Starlink satellites is B1075, on its third flight, previously supporting the Transport and Tracking Layer flight 1 and Starlink group 2-4, both from Vandenberg Space Force Base. The fairings on this flight are also flight-proven, with both fairing halves flying for their second time and will be recovered by ‘Go Beyond,’ the newest addition to the SpaceX fleet.

Following just two and a half minutes after launch, B1075 separated from the second stage and began its trip back to Earth to land on the drone ship ‘Of Course I Still Love You’ just over 8 minutes after lift off. The second stage then continued to burn for another six minutes before coasting for just over fourteen and half minutes before the Starlink satellites are then deployed from the Falcon 9 second stage.

This is a relatively quick mission for Starlink as of late, with some of the more recent deployments coming in over an hour after their initial launches.

According to Jonathan McDowell of Planet4589, SpaceX has now launched 4,391 Starlink satellites, of which 3,478 will be operational if this current batch of satellites makes it through their technical checkouts and orbital positioning in the coming weeks.

Next up for SpaceX will be the launch of the Group 5-9 Starlink satellites, this time from SLC-40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, currently scheduled for launch at 12:58 AM ET (04:58 UTC).

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SpaceX successfully launches 51 Starlink satellites
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