SpaceX launches 52 Starlink satellites and lands a rocket at sea
At 7:32 p.m. ET (2332 GMT), a Falcon 9 rocket was topped by 52 Starlink spacecraft. It lifted off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
Nine minutes later, the Falcon 9’s first stage returned to Earth for a precise touchdown on A Shortfall of Gravitas (SpaceX) which was stationed at the Atlantic Ocean. According to the SpaceX mission description (opens in new tab), it was the fourth liftoff for this booster.
SpaceX confirmed that the Falcon 9’s upperstage deployed 52 Starlinks 15.5 Minutes after liftoff, as per plan.
SpaceX’s Starlink megaconstellation continues to grow, and Saturday’s launch will continue that process. This constellation provides internet service worldwide. SpaceX has launched nearly 3,400 Starlink satellites, and plans to launch many more.
SpaceX will launch Starlink Version 2 satellites next year. These will be larger and more powerful than the current version. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced that the V2 spacecraft will have the ability to beam connectivity directly from smartphones to their customers. This will be possible through a project called “Coverage Above & Beyond”. SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk said last month. SpaceX will launch Starlink V2 batches aboard its massive, next-generation Starship vehicle. It will also transport cargo to Mars and other destinations. Musk recently stated that Starship’s first orbital flight will take place in November.
Saturday’s launch marked SpaceX’s 43rd orbital flight of 2022. This was also the company’s first-ever single-year liftoff record. SpaceX’s previous record for launches per year was 31, which it achieved in 2021.