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SpaceX has launched the next launch of Starlink internet satellites – Spaceflight Now

Live streaming 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 4-26 mission will launch SpaceX’s next batch of 53 Starlink broadband satellites. Follow us Twitter.

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A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and 52 other Starlink internet satellites launched into space on Tuesday from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The commercial mission flew into low-Earth orbit at 10:14 p.m. EDT (GMT), and the Falcon 9’s reusable first stage landed on the unmanned aerial vehicle at sea.

The launch team missed a launch opportunity at 6:57 pm EDT (2257 GMT) due to unfavorable upper-level winds.

The Falcon 9 rocket headed northeast from the Kennedy Space Center and aimed to deliver the fully loaded broadband relay stations into an orbit varying in altitude from 144 miles to 208 miles (232×338 kilometers). The deployment of 52 flat-pack satellites from the Falcon 9’s upper stage took place about 15 minutes after liftoff.

On Tuesday, SpaceX launched 3,009 Starlink internet satellites into space, including prototypes and test units that are no longer in service, with mission designated Starlink 4-26. Tuesday’s launch marked the 54th SpaceX mission, primarily dedicated to launching Starlink internet satellites into orbit.

SpaceX’s launch team, stationed in the firing room at the launch control center at Kennedy, began loading supercooled, compressed kerosene and liquid oxygen fuels into the 229-foot-tall (70-meter) Falcon 9 vehicle in T-minus 35 minutes.

Helium pressure also flowed into the rocket during the last half hour of the countdown. In the final seven minutes before liftoff, the Falcon 9’s Merlin main engines were thermally conditioned for flight through a procedure known as “chilldown.” Falcon 9’s guidance and range safety systems are also configured for launch.

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

The rocket exceeded the speed of sound for about a minute, then shut down its nine main engines two and a half minutes after liftoff. Launched from the Falcon 9’s upper stage, the booster stage then fired pulses from cold gas thrusters and an extended titanium mesh to help propel the vehicle back into the atmosphere.

Two brake burns slowed the rocket to land on the drone, A Shortfall of Gravitas, about eight and a half minutes after liftoff.

Credit: Spaceflight Now

The booster, known as B1073, was launched on its third trip into space on the Starlink 4-26 mission. It debuted with its previous launch for the Starlink program in May, then flew again on June 29 with SES 22 commercial television broadcast satellites.

Tuesday’s mission’s first stage landing came minutes after the Falcon 9’s second stage engine cut off to deliver the Starlink satellites into orbit. The 52 spacecraft, built by SpaceX in Redmond, Washington, were confirmed to separate from the Falcon 9 rocket at T+plus 15 minutes and 24 seconds.

The capture rods, released from the Starlink payload stack, allow the flat-packed satellites to fly freely from the Falcon 9’s upper stage in orbit. The 52 spacecraft will deploy their solar arrays and go through automated activation phases, then use krypton-fueled ion engines to maneuver into an operational orbit.

Falcon 9’s guidance computer aimed to place the satellites in an elliptical orbit with an inclination of 53.2 degrees to the equator. The satellites will use onboard propulsion to do the rest of the work to reach a circular orbit 335 miles (540 kilometers) above Earth.

Starlink satellites will fly in one of five orbital “shells” at different inclinations for SpaceX’s global internet network. Once in operational orbit, the satellites will enter commercial service and begin transmitting broadband signals to consumers who can purchase Starlink service and connect to the network through a SpaceX-supplied ground terminal.

ROCKET: Falcon 9 (B1073.3)

DOWNLOADING: 52 Starlink satellites (Starlink 4-26)

STARTS PAGE: LC-39A, Kennedy Space Center, Florida

START DATE: August 9, 2022

START TIME: 22:14:40 EDT (0214:40 GMT)

WEATHER FORECAST: 70% chance of fair weather; Low risk of upper level winds; Low risk of adverse conditions for booster recovery

ENHANCED RECOVERY: Gravity Deficiency drone east of Charleston, South Carolina

START AZIMUTH: North east

TARGET ORBIT: 144 miles by 208 miles (232 km x 335 km), 53.2 degree inclination

START TIME:

  • T+00:00: Liftoff
  • T+01:12: Maximum aerodynamic pressure (Max-Q)
  • T+02:26: First stage main engine cutoff (MECO)
  • T+02:30: Phase separation
  • T+02:36: Second stage engine ignition
  • T+02:41: Fairing jump
  • T+06:45: First stage inlet ignition (three engines)
  • T+07:06: First stage inlet burnout
  • T+08:19: First stage landing ignition (one engine)
  • T+08:43: Second stage engine cut (DRY 1)
  • T+08:44: First stage landing
  • T+15:24: Detachment of Starlink satellite

MISSION STATUS:

  • The 169th launch of the Falcon 9 rocket since 2010
  • The 177th launch of the Falcon missile family since 2006
  • 3rd release of Falcon 9 booster B1073
  • The 146th Falcon 9 launch from Florida’s Space Coast
  • 53rd SpaceX launch from pad 39A
  • Overall issue 147 from pad 39A
  • 111th flight of a reused Falcon 9 booster
  • 54th special Falcon 9 launch with Starlink satellites
  • The 35th Falcon 9 launch of 2022
  • 35th launch by SpaceX in 2022
  • 35th orbital launch attempt from Cape Canaveral in 2022

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