SpaceX launches 48 Starlink satellites amid Ukraine crisis
by Paul Brinkmann
Washington DC (UPI) Mar 9, 2021
SpaceX launched 48 more of the company's Starlink broadband Internet satellites on Wednesday morning from Florida.
The company's Falcon 9 rocket lifted off as planned at 8:45 a.m. EST into a mostly blue sky from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The launch was SpaceX's 10th in 2022.
"Time to let the American broomstick fly and hear the sounds of freedom," a SpaceX launch controller said just before liftoff, referring to comments from the head of the Russian space agency last week after Russia said it would stop selling rocket engines used in some U.S. space vehicles.
Like several recent SpaceX launches from Florida, Wednesday's mission flew south from the Cape, prompting the Space Force to ask that boaters and pilots check the launch "keep out" zones and avoid the area.
"Okay, Falcon 9 has successfully lifted off, carrying our stack of ... 49 Starlink satellites to low Earth orbit," SpaceX's Youmei Zhou, a propulsion engineer, said during a live broadcast.
SpaceX has provided Starlink ground terminals to the Ukrainian government for use during its defense amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter that Starlink teams had been focused on "cyber defense and overcoming signal jamming" due to the conflict.
"Some Starlink terminals near conflict areas were being jammed for several hours at a time. Our latest software update bypasses the jamming," Musk tweeted Friday.
SpaceX has launched over 2,200 Starlink satellites since May 2019, but about 1,564 are operational, according to data published by Harvard astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell, who tracks the satellites.
Wednesday's launch was the third Starlink mission since SpaceX lost about 40 of the satellites during a solar storm that increased air drag on them, preventing the spacecraft from reaching orbit. They burned up safely as they re-entered the atmosphere.
The first-stage booster for the rocket had been used in three previous launches. Following the release of the second stage on Wednesday, the first stage flew to a landing pad in the Atlantic Ocean on the company's barge, A Shortfall of Gravitas.
SpaceX launches 47 Starlink satellites from Florida
Washington DC (UPI) Mar 3, 2021
SpaceX launched another cluster of 47 of its own Starlink Internet communications satellites from Florida on Thursday, as company founder and CEO Elon Musk has confirmed Starlink use by the government of Ukraine during the conflict with Russia. The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off as planned into a mostly sunny, blue sky at 9:25 a.m. EST from Complex 39 at Kennedy Space Center. At 40 seconds into flight, SpaceX engineer Siva Baradvaj confirmed during a live broadcast "successful liftoff of the ... read more
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