What’s Next for Starlink? SpaceX Launches 22 Satellites Toward the Sky
On the evening of August 31st, SpaceX executed another successful mission, launching 22 of its Starlink internet satellites into orbit from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Starlink payload blasted off at precisely 10:21 p.m. EDT (0221 GMT on September 1).
One of the highlights of this mission was the controlled return of the Falcon 9’s first stage. As part of SpaceX’s commitment to reusability, this booster came back to Earth as planned, touching down on the SpaceX drone ship known as “A Shortfall of Gravitas” stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. Remarkably, this marked the seventh launch and landing for this particular booster, an impressive feat that contributes to SpaceX’s ongoing efforts to reduce the cost of access to space. It’s worth noting that SpaceX’s reuse record, held by two different Falcon 9 first stages, currently stands at an impressive 16 flights.
While the first stage was making its triumphant return, the Falcon 9’s upper stage continued its journey. If all proceeds as intended, this upper stage will deploy the 22 Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit (LEO) approximately 65 minutes after liftoff.
This Starlink launch had initially been scheduled to be part of a SpaceX doubleheader. Earlier in the day, another Falcon 9 was set to launch 13 satellites for the U.S. Space Force from Cape Canaveral. Unfortunately, SpaceX had to scrub that planned launch due to an undisclosed issue. The company has rescheduled the Space Force liftoff for Friday, September 1st, at 11:26 a.m. EDT (1526 GMT). You can watch the upcoming launch on Space.com when the time comes.
SpaceX continues to make strides in expanding global internet coverage through its Starlink constellation, all while pushing the boundaries of rocket reusability and reliability.