Another day, another Starlink release.
A SpaceX A Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California at 1:40 a.m. EDT (0540 GMT; 10:40 p.m. local California time) on Wednesday (Aug. 31), carrying 46 of the company’s rockets. Starlink Internet satellites into orbit.
After approximately 8.5 minutes, two-stage Hawk 9The first phase of the precision landing came on the SpaceX robotic droneship of course I Still Love You, which was stationed in the Pacific Ocean.
This is the seventh launch and landing for this Falcon 9 first stage, SpaceX wrote Job description (opens in new tab).
The upper stage of the rocket continued to fly in low Earth orbit. If all goes according to plan, it will deploy 46 Starlink satellites within an hour of launch.
SpaceX has already launched more than 3,000 satellites for Starling, the giant Internet conglomerate that provides broadband service to customers around the world. Many of those spacecraft have gone up this year; So far in 2022, SpaceX has launched 25 dedicated Starlink missions.
Starlink accounts for most of SpaceX’s launch traffic these days; The company has conducted a total of 39 orbital missions so far this year.
The megaconstellation continues to grow in both numbers and ambition. SpaceX has received approval to launch 12,000 Starlink satellites, and has sought approval from international regulators to launch another 30,000 satellites.
Last week, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk It announced plans to provide direct connectivity to smartphones using Starlink. The project was called a joint venture between SpaceX and T-Mobile Above and beyond coverageA heavier and more capable spacecraft using Starlink Version 2 satellites is expected to launch next year.
By Mike Wall “outside (opens in new tab)” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Carl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelWall (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or on Facebook (opens in new tab).