SpaceX launches Falcon 9 with 23 Starlink satellites from Florida – Spaceflight Now

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A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Florida to deliver another 23 Starlink satellites to low Earth orbit on May 6, 2024. Image: SpaceX

SpaceX launched the first of two Starlink missions from Florida set this week, as Boeing prepared for the first piloted launch of its Starliner capsule. A Falcon 9 rocket launched from pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on Monday, with another anticipated on Wednesday from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center.

Liftoff on Monday happened at 2:14 p.m. EDT (1814 UTC). Meteorologists at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station say there is a 90-percent chance of acceptable conditions for launch, with a small risk of cumulus cloud development being the only concern.

The Falcon 9 first stage assigned to the Starlink 6-57 mission made its 15th flight. The booster, which has the tail number 1069, first flew in December 2021 on a cargo delivery mission to the International Space Station. In addition to making 10 previous Starlink deliveries, it launched the Hotbird 13F and SES 18 and 19 telecommunications satellites and a batch of satellites for OneWeb’s high speed internet service. It most recently flew a month ago on Apr. 5 for the Starlink 6-47 mission.

The Falcon 9 first stage landed on the drone ship ‘Just Read the Instructions’ about eight and half minutes into the flight. The ocean going landing platform was stationed in the Atlantic Ocean east of the Bahamas. Two burns of the rocket’s second stage put the 23 second-generation Starlink satellites into orbit, with deployment occurring about one hour, five minutes after launch.

A second Starlink delivery mission is scheduled for Wednesday from launch complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center. The launch is set for 11 a.m. EDT (1500 UTC).

SpaceX says it has signed up over two million subscribers in more than 60 countries for its Starlink internet service. Since 2019 it has launched 6,327 satellites according to statistics compiled by Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, who maintains a space flight database. Of those satellites 5,913 remain in orbit and 5,841 appear to be working normally based on data compiled on May 5.



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