Mon. Dec 11th, 2023
SpaceX to Launch 22 Starlink Satellites from California

SpaceX is scheduled to make another attempt to launch a Falcon 9 rocket from the West Coast. The launch will carry a batch of 22 Starlink satellites. The liftoff is planned for 10:33 p.m. PST Sunday (1:33 a.m. EST / 06:33 UTC Monday).

Earlier, there was a countdown for the Falcon 9, but it was halted with just minutes remaining. SpaceX announced that it was “standing down” without providing a reason for the aborted launch attempt. This mission, known as Starlink 7-7, was already delayed by a day.

If the launch is successful, the Falcon 9 will head southeast after taking off from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. It will target a 183×178 mile (295×286 km) orbit, inclined at 53 degrees to the equator.

The first stage booster, which has been used for 15 flights, has previously launched various missions including Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich, DART, Transporter-7, Iridium OneWeb, Space Development Agency Tranche 0B, and nine previous Starlink delivery missions. After its burn, the first stage will land on the drone ship ‘Of Course I still Love You,’ stationed about 400 miles downrange (644 km) in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California.

Approximately one hour after launch, the 22 V2 Mini Starlink satellites will be deployed if all goes according to plan. These satellites are larger than the previous V1.5 satellites and boast upgraded antennae and larger solar panels. The latest models are capable of delivering four times the bandwidth compared to their predecessors.

SpaceX has recently announced that its Starlink internet service has garnered over two million subscribers in more than 60 countries. Since 2019, SpaceX has launched a total of 5,445 satellites, with 5,078 still in orbit and 5,041 operating normally according to statistics compiled by astronomer Jonathan McDowell.