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SpaceX’s latest Starlink launch was successful – Spaceflight Now

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Live stream of the countdown and launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Starlink 4-22 mission launched SpaceX’s next batch of 53 Starlink broadband satellites. Follow us at Twitter.

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A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from the Space Force Station at Cape Canaveral at 10:20 am EST (1420 GMT) Sunday with 53 more Starlink internet satellites. The mission marks SpaceX’s fourth launch in 10 days and SpaceX’s 31st launch in 2022, setting a record number of Falcon 9 missions in a calendar year.

A Falcon 9 booster has landed on a SpaceX drone parked in the Atlantic Ocean northeast of Cape Canaveral.

The rocket headed northeast from the Space Force station at Cape Canaveral, aiming to deliver flat-panel broadband relay stations into orbit between 144 and 210 miles (232 by 338 kilometers). The deployment of 53 flat satellites from the Falcon 9 upper stage occurred about 15 minutes after liftoff.

On Sunday’s mission, designated Starlink 4-22, SpaceX launched 2,858 Starlink internet satellites, including prototypes and test devices that are no longer in use. Thursday’s launch was SpaceX’s 51st mission, primarily dedicated to placing Starlink internet satellites into orbit.

From the launch room at the launch control center just south of Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, the SpaceX launch team began loading super-cooled, compacted kerosene and liquid oxygen into a 229-foot (70-meter) Falcon 9 rocket. T-minus 35 minutes.

In the last half hour of the countdown, helium sealant also hit the rocket. In the last seven minutes before liftoff, the Falcon 9 Merlin’s main engines were heat-treated for flight in a procedure known as “chilling”. The Falcon 9’s range guidance and safety systems were also set up for launch.

After liftoff, the Falcon 9 rocket directed its 1.7 million pounds of thrust, generated by nine Merlin engines, to the northeast over the Atlantic Ocean.

The rocket broke the speed of sound in about one minute, and two and a half minutes after launch, it turned off nine main engines. The booster stage emerged from the Falcon 9’s upper stage, then fired pulses from the cold gas control thrusters and extended titanium lattice stabilizers to help propel the craft back into the atmosphere.

The two brake stops slowed the rocket’s launch before landing on the “Just Read the Instructions” unmanned craft by about 400 miles (650 kilometers) in range about eight and a half minutes after liftoff.

Credit: Spaceflight Now

The launch vehicle, tail number B1051, which took off on Sunday, is one of the oldest in SpaceX’s fleet of reusable rockets. It debuted in March 2019 with the first uncrewed test flight of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft. Since then, the booster has launched the Canadian Radarsat Constellation mission, the SiriusXM SXM 7 broadcast satellite and nine Starlink missions.

Sunday’s mission made B1051 the third booster in SpaceX’s arsenal to reach the milestone of 13 flights. SpaceX has certified Falcon 9 boosters for at least 15 missions, an expansion of the original certification for 10 flights.

Sunday’s mission’s first stage landing came seconds after the Falcon 9’s second stage engine shut down to carry the Starlink satellites into orbit. Separation of 53 spacecraft built by SpaceX in Redmond, Washington was confirmed after 15 minutes and 28 seconds.

The holding rods are released from the Starlink payload stack, allowing the flat-packed satellites to fly freely from the Falcon 9 upper stage into orbit. 53 spacecraft will deploy solar panels and go through automatic activation stages, and then, using krypton-powered ion engines, will enter their working orbit.

The Falcon 9 guidance computer sought to put the satellites into an elliptical orbit with an orbital inclination of 53.2 degrees to the equator. The satellites will use their onboard thrusters to do the rest of the job of reaching a circular orbit 335 miles (540 kilometers) above the Earth.

The Starlink satellites will fly in one of five orbital “shells” at different angles of inclination for SpaceX’s global internet network. After reaching their operating orbit, the satellites will begin commercial operation and begin transmitting broadband signals to consumers, who can purchase the Starlink service and connect to the network using a ground terminal provided by SpaceX.

ROCKET: Falcon 9 (B1051.13)

PAYLOAD: 53 Starlink satellites (Starlink 4-22)

STARTING SITE: SLC-40, Space Force Station at Cape Canaveral, Florida

LAUNCH DATE: July 17, 2022

STARTING TIME: 10:20:00 AM EDT (14:20:00 GMT)

WEATHER FORECAST: 50% chance of acceptable weather; Low risk of high winds; Low risk of adverse conditions for booster recovery

RECOVERY FASTER: “Just Read the Instructions” drone ship east of Charleston, South Carolina.

LAUNCH AZIMUT: To the northeast

TARGET ORBIT: 144 miles by 210 miles (232 km by 338 km), tilt 53.2 degrees

STARTING TIME:

  • T+00:00: Start
  • T+01:12: Maximum aerodynamic pressure (Max-Q)
  • T+02:28: First stage main engine shutdown (MECO)
  • T+02:32: stage separation
  • T+02:39: Second stage engine ignition.
  • T+02:43: Fairing reset
  • T+06:50: First stage ignition (three engines).
  • T+07:09: Shutdown of combustion at the input of the first stage.
  • T+08:26: First stage ignition on landing (single engine)
  • T+08:47: Second stage engine shutdown (SECO 1)
  • T+08:48: Landing of the first stage.
  • T+15:28: Separation of Starlink satellites

MISSION STATISTICS:

  • 165th Falcon 9 launch since 2010.
  • 173rd launch of Falcon family missiles since 2006
  • 13th Falcon 9 launch B1051
  • 143rd Falcon 9 launch from the Florida Space Coast.
  • 92nd Falcon 9 launch from pad 40
  • 147th launch overall from pad 40
  • 107th flight of the reusable Falcon 9 launch vehicle
  • 51st dedicated Falcon 9 launch with Starlink satellites
  • 31st Falcon 9 launch in 2022
  • 31st SpaceX launch in 2022
  • 31st orbital launch from Cape Canaveral in 2022.

Write to the author.

Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.


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