Fri. Sep 29th, 2023
SpaceX to launch Falcon 9 rocket for record 17th time

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to launch for the 17th time tonight, carrying 22 Starlink internet satellites. The launch is set to take place from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 10:47 p.m. EDT. The event can be watched live through SpaceX’s account on X.

If all goes as planned, the Falcon 9’s first stage will return to Earth and land on a SpaceX drone ship stationed at sea after approximately 8.5 minutes. This will be the 17th successful liftoff and landing for the first stage of this particular Falcon 9 rocket, setting a new milestone for rocket reusability. Currently, two other Falcon 9 boosters have completed 16 flights.

After about 62.5 minutes from launch, the 22 Starlink satellites will be deployed into low Earth orbit from the Falcon 9’s upper stage.

Furthermore, this launch will also set another record for SpaceX as it will be their 65th orbital mission of the year, surpassing their previous record of 61 missions set in 2022.

The majority of SpaceX’s launches this year have been dedicated to expanding the Starlink megaconstellation. Presently, the constellation consists of over 4,700 operational satellites. SpaceX has the authority to launch up to 12,000 Starlink satellites and has applied for permission to launch an additional 30,000.