SpaceX Launches 53 More Starlink Internet Satellites – Spaceflight Now

SpaceX Launches 53 More Starlink Internet Satellites - Spaceflight Now
Written by admin

“Our move will allow SpaceX to begin deploying Gen2 Starlink, which will bring the next generation of satellite broadband to Americans nationwide, who live and work in areas traditionally unserved or unserved by terrestrial systems.” Approving Starlink Gen2 Constellation. “Our move will enable global satellite broadband services, helping close the global digital divide.

“At the same time, these limited grants and associated conditions will protect other satellite and terrestrial operators from harmful interference and maintain a safe space environment, promote competition, and protect spectrum and orbital resources for future use,” the FCC wrote. “We are suspending action on SpaceX’s remaining applications at this time.”

Specifically, the FCC authorized SpaceX to launch an initial block of 7,500 Starlink Gen2 satellites into 525, 530, and 535 km orbits, at 53, 43, and 33 degrees, respectively, using Ku-band and Ka-band free bands. .. The FCC has delayed a decision to operate the Starlink Gen2 satellites into higher and lower orbits at SpaceX’s request.

Like the first two Gen2 launches on Dec. 28 and Jan. 26, the Starlink 5-3 mission on Thursday aimed for a 530-kilometer-high (329-mile) orbit at a 43-degree inclination to the equator.

SpaceX currently has approximately 3,500 operational Starlink satellites in space, with more than 3,100 operational and approximately 300 moving into their operational orbits. According to a table by Jonathan McDowellAn expert tracker of spaceflight activity and an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

The first-generation Starlink network architecture consisted of satellites flying several hundred miles above the equator, orbiting at 97.6 degrees, 70 degrees, 53.2 degrees, and 53.0 degrees. Most of SpaceX’s recent Starlink launches have left satellites in shell 4, at an inclination of 53.2 degrees, after the company completed the first launch in a 53-degree inclined shell last year.

Shell 5 of the Starlink network was widely believed to be one of the pole-orbiting layers of the constellation, at an inclination of 97.6 degrees. But the names of the first few Gen2 missions — Starlink 5-1, 5-2, and 5-3 — appear to have changed the naming scheme for SpaceX Starlink shells.

The Starlink 5-3 mission carries 53 satellites on SpaceX’s Starlink Gen2 network. Credit: Take Spaceflight

SpaceX’s launch team stayed inside Firing Room 4 at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Control Center for the countdown overnight Thursday. SpaceX began loading super-cooled, condensed kerosene and liquid oxygen propellants into the Falcon 9 vehicle at 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.” The Falcon 9’s guidance and range safety systems were also configured for launch.

After liftoff, the Falcon 9 rocket drove its 1.7 million pounds of thrust — produced by nine Merlin engines — southeast over the Atlantic Ocean. SpaceX relaunched this winter using the southeast corridor from Cape Canaveral instead of the northeast trajectory to take advantage of better sea conditions to land the Falcon 9’s first stage booster.

Throughout the summer and fall, SpaceX launched Starlink missions on a northeasterly course from Florida’s Space Coast.

The Falcon 9 rocket passed the speed of sound in about a minute, then shut down its nine main engines two and a half minutes after liftoff. The booster stage separated from the Falcon 9’s upper stage, followed by pulse firing from cold gas control thrusters and expanded titanium grid fins to help propel the vehicle back into the atmosphere.

The two braking burn drone ships slowed the rocket about 410 miles (660 kilometers) downrange to land in “a shortfall of gravitas” about nine minutes after liftoff. The reusable booster, designated B1069 in SpaceX’s inventory, launched and landed for the fifth time in its career on Thursday.

The Falcon 9’s reusable payload fairing was jettisoned during the second stage burnout. An Atlantic recovery ship was also on station to recover two sections of the nose cone after it was ejected under parachute.

Thursday’s mission’s first stage landing occurred just as the Falcon 9’s second stage engine cut off to deliver the Starlink satellites into parking orbits. Another brief firing of the upper stage engines thrust the Starlink payloads into a more circular orbit, setting up a maneuver to deploy the satellites.

The confirmation came about 64 minutes after the 53 Starlink spacecraft, built by SpaceX in Redmond, Washington, separated from the Falcon 9 rocket.

Falcon 9’s guidance computer was intended to place the satellites in near-circular orbits inclined at 43 degrees to the equator, with altitudes of 202 miles to 213 miles (325-by-343 kilometers). After separation from the rocket, the 53 Starlink spacecraft will deploy the solar array and go through an automatic activation phase, then use ion engines to propel them into operational orbits at an altitude of 329 miles.

Rocket: Falcon 9 (B1069.5)

Payload: 53 Starlink satellites (Starlink 5-3)

Launch Site: LC-39A, Kennedy Space Center, Florida

Lunch date: February 2, 2023

Launch Time: 2:58:20 am EST (0758:20 GMT)

Weather forecast: The probability of acceptable weather is greater than 90%; Low to moderate risk of high-level winds; Low risk of adverse conditions for booster recovery

Booster Recovery: Drone ships “Lack of Gravitus” northeast of Bahamas

Turn on azimuth: Southeast

Target Orbit: 202 mi by 213 mi (325 km by 343 km), 43.0 degree tilt

Launch Timeline:

  • T+00:00: Lift off
  • T+01:12: Maximum Aerodynamic Pressure (Max-Q)
  • T+02:28: First stage main engine cutoff (MECO)
  • T+02:31: Stage separation
  • T+02:38: Second stage engine ignition
  • T+02:43: Fairing jettisoned
  • T+06:41: First stage entry burn ignition (three engines)
  • T+07:00: First stage entry burn cutoff
  • T+08:23: First stage landing burn ignition (one engine)
  • T+08:35: Second stage engine cutoff (DRY 1)
  • T+08:44: First stage landing
  • T+1:03:56: Starlink satellite separation

Mission Statistics:

  • 201st launch of Falcon 9 rocket since 2010
  • 211th launch of the Falcon rocket family since 2006
  • 5th launch of Falcon 9 booster B1069
  • 172nd Falcon 9 launch from Florida’s Space Coast
  • 61st SpaceX launch from Pad 39A
  • 155th launch overall from Pad 39A
  • 142nd flight of a reused Falcon 9 booster
  • The 71st Falcon 9 launch is primarily dedicated to the Starlink network
  • 7th Falcon 9 launch in 2023
  • 8th launch by SpaceX in 2023
  • 6th orbital launch attempt from Cape Canaveral in 2023

About the author


Leave a Comment