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SpaceX completes second launch Sunday, sends more satellites into orbit
A captivating long-exposure photograph capturing the artistic path of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket as it soars through the night sky during the Starlink 6-37 mission. Photo by C&J Images.
SpaceX completes second launch Sunday, sends more satellites into orbit
by A.L. Lee and Mark Moran
Miama FL (UPI) Jan 15, 2024

Amid a thick column of red hot flame, SpaceX launched the second of two Falcon 9 rockets Sunday night on an unmanned mission to deliver more Starlink internet satellites into low Earth orbit.

SpaceX pushed back the target liftoff time to 8:52 p.m. EST to launch a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The Falcon 9 will deploy a batch of 23 Starlink internet satellites.

Space X confirmed the success of the launch on the social media platform X.

The first rocket, on its 18th mission, blasted off about 1 a.m. PST from Vandenberg Space Force Base in Santa Barbara, Calif., after multiple delays due to extreme weather.

The earlier liftoff took place after another launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida was scrubbed Saturday, but was successful Sunday at 8:54 p.m. EST, the rocket 12th flight to deliver 23 additional internet satellites.

The Falcon 9 rocket booster can deliver payloads to space, then navigate back to Earth and land upright on an ocean platform for later reuse.

The aerospace manufacturing company owned by billionaire Elon Musk got federal approval in December 2022 to launch 7,500 satellites to expand the company's Starlink internet services around the world.

More than 5,300 satellites have been put in orbit so far, with the goal of achieving internet connectivity anywhere in the world, even in the most remote places.

SpaceX is delivering the satellites at a rapid pace after sending a Falcon 9 rocket into space at an average of about every four days throughout 2023, although the operation has slowed somewhat in recent weeks as one rocket was damaged during a return mission on the East Coast in December.

The green light from the Federal Communications Commission was seen as a monumental victory for the company as it sought to grow its broadband network amid increasing competition from major players like DISH and Amazon.

As the network expands, Musk's Starlink has increased its product offerings over the past year and built up its customer base in sectors such as residential, business, recreational vehicles, boats, and planes.

The space flights to build out the satellite network represent about 60% of total launches SpaceX made last year, while its other flights involved launches to the International Space Station and the Artemis moon mission.

SpaceX has set a goal to launch hundreds of satellites throughout 2024.

Source: United Press International

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