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SpaceX Achieves Back-to-Back Starlink Satellite Launches to Expand Global Internet Coverage
Another Falcon 9 roars into orbit with 23 Starlinks onboard. Photograph by C&J Images for SpaceDaily.com
SpaceX Achieves Back-to-Back Starlink Satellite Launches to Expand Global Internet Coverage
by Staff Writers
Space Coast FL (SPX) Oct 22, 2023

SpaceX successfully executed a two-part Starlink satellite mission on Saturday, deploying a total of 44 satellites from two separate launch sites in a single day. The ambitious mission represents the latest milestone in SpaceX's ongoing effort to expand its Starlink global broadband service.

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.

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