SpaceX lofted 52 extra of its Starlink web satellites to orbit Wednesday night (Oct. 5), simply hours after launching astronauts towards the Worldwide House Station for NASA.
The Falcon 9’s first stage got here again to Earth and made a pinpoint touchdown 8.5 minutes after launch on the SpaceX droneship Of Course I Nonetheless Love You, which was stationed within the Pacific Ocean.
It was the fifth liftoff and touchdown for this specific booster, in keeping with a SpaceX mission description (opens in new tab). The rocket beforehand helped launch the NROL-85 and NROL-87 missions for the U.S. Nationwide Reconnaissance Workplace, the Sarah-1 radar satellite tv for pc for the German authorities, and one other Starlink batch.
Whereas the Falcon 9 first stage got here in for its touchdown, the higher stage continued powering its strategy to orbit. The 52 Starlink satellites have been deployed as deliberate about 62 minutes after liftoff, SpaceX confirmed by way of Twitter (opens in new tab) on Wednesday night.
Starlink is SpaceX’s ever-growing megaconstellation that beams web service to prospects around the globe. SpaceX has already lofted greater than 3,400 Starlink satellites thus far and plans to orbit many extra: The corporate has approval to launch 12,000 of the spacecraft and has utilized for permission for as much as 30,000 on prime of that.
This night’s launch was SpaceX’s forty fifth of 2022 and second of the day, after the Crew-5 astronaut mission for NASA, which lifted off at midday EDT (1600 GMT) from Kennedy House Heart in Florida.
The four-person Crew-5 is scheduled to reach on the Worldwide House Station Thursday (Oct. 6) at 4:57 p.m. EDT (2057 GMT); you possibly can watch that reside right here at House.com when the time comes.
SpaceX additionally plans to launch one other mission on Thursday, sending two business communications satellites aloft from Cape Canaveral House Power Station in Florida at 7:07 p.m. EDT (2307 GMT). You possibly can watch that reside right here at House.com as effectively.
Editor’s word: This story was up to date at 7:35 p.m. EDT on Wednesday with information of profitable launch and rocket touchdown.
Mike Wall is the creator of “Out There (opens in new tab)” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a guide concerning the seek for alien life. Comply with him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in new tab). Comply with us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or on Fb (opens in new tab).