SpaceX launches 53 more Starlink internet satellites – Spaceflight Now

“Our work will allow SpaceX to begin deploying Gen2 Starlink, which will bring the next generation of satellite broadband to Americans across the country, including to those who live and work,” the FCC wrote in its Dec. 1 request in part. In areas that are not or are not normally reached by terrestrial systems. Starlink Gen2 constellation approval. Our work will also enable satellite broadband service around the world, helping to bridge the digital divide on a global scale.

“At the same time, this limited grant and associated terms will protect other satellite and ground operators from harmful interference, maintain a safe space environment, promote competition and protect orbital spectrum and resources for future use,” the FCC wrote. “We are delaying taking action on the remainder of the SpaceX application at this time.”

Specifically, the FCC has authorized SpaceX to launch the initial mass of 7,500 Starlink Gen2 satellites into orbits at 525, 530, and 535 kilometers, with inclinations of 53, 43, and 33 degrees, respectively, using Ku-frequencies. band and Ka-band. . The FCC has delayed a decision on SpaceX’s request to operate Starlink Gen2 satellites in higher and lower orbits.

Like the first launches of Embryo 2 on Dec. 28 and Jan. 26, Thursday’s Starlink 5-3 mission targeted the orbit, which is 530 kilometers (329 miles) high at an inclination of 43 degrees to the equator.

SpaceX currently has approximately 3,500 Starlink satellites operating in space, with more than 3,100 operational and nearly 300 moving into operational orbits, According to tabulation done by Jonathan McDowellan expert in spaceflight activity tracking and an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

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The first-generation Starlink network architecture includes satellites flying at an altitude of a few hundred miles, orbiting at inclinations of 97.6°, 70°, 53.2°, and 53.0° to the equator. Most of SpaceX’s recent Starlink launches have launched satellites in Shell 4, at an inclination of 53.2 degrees, after the company largely completed launches in its first 53-degree inclination structure last year.

Starlink’s Shell 5 is widely believed to be one of the layers of the constellation’s polar orbits, at an inclination of 97.6 degrees. But the name of the first few Gen2 missions — Starlink 5-1, 5-2, and 5-3 — seems to indicate that SpaceX has changed the naming scheme for Starlink shells.

The Starlink 5-3 mission carried 53 satellites in SpaceX’s Starlink Gen2 network. Credit: Spaceflight Now

The SpaceX launch team stationed inside Firing Room 4 at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Control Center for Thursday night’s countdown. SpaceX began loading ultra-cold condensed kerosene and liquid oxygen propellants into the Falcon 9 vehicle in T-minus 35 minutes.

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

After liftoff, the Falcon 9 rocket directed 1.7 million pounds of thrust—produced by nine Merlin engines—to steer southeast into the Atlantic Ocean. SpaceX resumed launches this winter using the southeast runway from Cape Canaveral, rather than runs to the northeast, to take advantage of better sea conditions for the first-stage landing of the Falcon 9 booster.

Over the summer and fall, SpaceX launched Starlink missions on trajectories northeast of Florida’s Space Coast.

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The Falcon 9 rocket exceeded the speed of sound in about one 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, then fired pulses from cold gas control thrusters and extended titanium grille fins to help guide the vehicle back into the atmosphere.

Two brake burners slowed the rocket as it touched down on the drone ship “A Shortfall of Gravitas” about 410 miles (660 kilometers) about nine minutes after liftoff. The reusable booster, designated B1069 in SpaceX inventory, launched and touched down for the fifth time in its career Thursday.

The Falcon 9’s reusable payload fairing was discarded during the second stage burn. The salvage ship was also on station in the Atlantic to recover the nose cone halves after they had been sprayed under parachutes.

The first-stage landing on Thursday’s mission occurred just as the Falcon 9’s second-stage engine failed to deliver the Starlink satellites to parking orbit. Another short upper-stage engine fire injected the Starlink payloads into a more circular orbit, maneuvering to deploy the satellites.

The 53 Starlink spacecraft, built by SpaceX in Redmond, Washington, has been confirmed to have separated from a Falcon 9 rocket about 64 minutes after liftoff.

The Falcon 9’s guidance computer aims to deploy the satellites into a near-circular orbit at an inclination of 43 degrees to the equator, at an altitude of between 202 miles and 213 miles (325 by 343 kilometers). After separating from the rocket, the 53 Starlink spacecraft will unlock the solar arrays, run through the automated activation steps, then use the ion thrusters to maneuver into their operational orbit at an altitude of 329 miles.

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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 a.m. EST (0758:20 GMT)

weather forecast: greater than 90% chance of acceptable weather; low to moderate risk of upper level winds; Reduced risk of conditions unfavorable to an enhanced recovery

Recovery from boost: Drone vessel named “A Shortfall of Gravitas” in the Northeast Bahamas

AZIMUTH LAUNCH: southeast

target orbit: 202 miles by 213 miles (325 kilometers by 343 kilometers), 43.0 degrees

Launch timeline:

  • T+00:00: take off
  • T+01:12: Max Air Pressure (Max-Q)
  • T+02:28: Main Engine Cutoff Phase 1 (MICO)
  • T+02:31: Phase separation
  • T+02:38: Second stage engine ignition
  • T+02:43: Quiet out
  • T+06:41: First stage entry burner ignition (three engines)
  • T+07:00: First stage entry afterburner cut off
  • T+08:23: First stage burner ignition (single engine)
  • T+08:35: Second stage engine cut off (SECO 1)
  • T+08:44: First stage landing
  • T+1:03:56: Starlink satellite disconnected

Mission statistics:

  • The 201st launch of the Falcon 9 rocket since 2010
  • The 211th launch of the Falcon family since 2006
  • Fifth launch of Falcon 9 Booster B1069
  • Falcon 9 172 launches from Florida Space Coast
  • SpaceX 61 launched from Platform 39A
  • 155th launch overall from Platform 39A
  • Flight 142 of the repurposed Falcon 9 booster
  • The Falcon 9 71 launch is primarily for the Starlink network
  • Seventh Falcon 9 launch in 2023
  • SpaceX’s eighth launch in 2023
  • Sixth orbital launch attempt from Cape Canaveral in 2023

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