The day's first launch took place at 4:23 a.m. ET from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. A Falcon 9 rocket lifted off, carrying 21 Starlink internet satellites into low Earth orbit. About eight minutes after launch, the first-stage booster landed safely on a platform in the Pacific, marking another successful recovery for SpaceX.
The aerospace manufacturing company, owned by billionaire Elon Musk, broadcast the first launch over the Internet, capturing key moments like the liftoff and the dramatic separation of the main booster stage. Approximately an hour into the flight, SpaceX confirmed the successful deployment of the 21 satellites via social media platform X.
Evening Launch from Florida Adds Another 23 Satellites
Building on the day's earlier success, SpaceX launched a second Falcon 9 rocket at 10:17 p.m. ET from Florida's Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. This second rocket carried 23 additional Starlink satellites, marking mission "6-24." Mission Control had planned for five backup opportunities for an alternate liftoff, but they were not needed as the launch went ahead as scheduled.
Regulatory and Commercial Milestones
SpaceX received federal approval in December to launch 7,500 additional satellites, a significant regulatory milestone. The Federal Communications Commission's approval, though not as extensive as SpaceX had hoped, still represented a monumental victory for the company as it faces increasing competition from major industry players like DISH and Amazon.
Starlink has seen substantial growth in various sectors throughout the year, broadening its customer base to include residential, business, recreational vehicles, boats, and planes. The satellite deployments from this two-part mission contribute to about 60% of the 75 total launches SpaceX has conducted this year.
The company aims to achieve 100 satellite launches by the end of the current year and has plans for another 144 launches in 2024.
By successfully executing back-to-back launches, SpaceX has once again proven its capability to conduct complex missions as it continues to build out its satellite network for global internet coverage.
|Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters
UK and Axiom sign agreement on plans for historic human spaceflight mission
CRS-29 mission flies research to the Space Station
India launches key test for manned orbital mission
NASA improves GIANT optical navigation technology for future missions
'No prospects': Russians slowly leaving legendary spaceport city
SpaceX Achieves Back-to-Back Starlink Satellite Launches to Expand Global Internet Coverage
UK plans space mission after striking deal with US firm
New US rocket Vulcan Centaur set to launch on December 24
Sampling unique bedrock at the margin unit
Year 2075: Martian rovers saved from cyber attack
Mystery of the Martian core solved
Short but Sweet; Sols 3987-3988
China discloses tasks of Shenzhou-17 crewed space mission
Next-generation rocket for China's manned space missions on track
Final rehearsal for Shenzhou XVII flight completed
Chinese sci-fi fans over the moon at Chengdu Worldcon
Fugro SpAARC's operations set to grow with new funding from Western Australian Govt
French Space Days India 2023 celebrates Indo-French collaboration
Follow NASA's Starling Swarm in Real Time
Launch of Ovzon 3 targeted for as soon as December 2023
Researchers developing 'revolutionary' multi-material for light-based 3D printing
Tightbeam tech set to revolutionize Global Marine Internet through Aalyria-HICO Partnership
NASA's First Two-way End-to-End Laser Communications System
Light-powered multi-level memory tech revolutionizes data processing
ET phone Dublin? Astrophysicists scan the Galaxy for signs of life
Exoplanet-informed research helps search for radio technosignatures
Webb detects tiny quartz crystals in clouds of hot gas giant
Extreme habitats: Microbial life in Old Faithful Geyser
How NASA is protecting Europa Clipper from space radiation
NASA's Webb Discovers New Feature in Jupiter's Atmosphere
Plot thickens in hunt for ninth planet
Large mound structures on Kuiper belt object Arrokoth may have common origin
|Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters