Home Science SpaceX launches 53 more Starlink internet satellites – Spaceflight Now

SpaceX launches 53 more Starlink internet satellites – Spaceflight Now

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In its Dec. 1 order, the FCC said, “Our actions allow SpaceX to begin deploying Gen2 Starlink, which has hitherto been unserved or inadequately serviced by ground systems. It will bring the next generation of satellite broadband to Americans across the country, including those who live and work locally.” Starlink Gen2 constellation approval. “Our actions will also enable global satellite broadband services and help bridge the digital divide on a global scale.

“At the same time, this limited subsidy and related conditions protect other satellites and ground operators from harmful interference, maintain a safe space environment, promote competition, and protect spectrum for future use. and orbital resources,” the FCC wrote.

Specifically, the FCC ordered the first block of 7,500 Starlink Gen2 satellites to be 525, 530, and 525, 530, and SpaceX has been authorized to launch into an orbit of 535 kilometers. The FCC has deferred a decision on SpaceX’s request to operate Starlink Gen2 satellites in high and low orbit.

Like the first two Gen2 launches on December 28 and January 26, Thursday’s Starlink 5-3 mission will orbit at an altitude of 530 kilometers (329 miles) at an inclination of 43 degrees to the equator. was targeted.

SpaceX currently operates approximately 3,500 Starlink satellites in space, with over 3,100 in operation and approximately 300 in operational orbit. According to Jonathan McDowell’s tallya professional tracker of spaceflight activities and an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

The first generation Starlink network architecture included satellites flying hundreds of miles above the equator and orbiting at inclinations of 97.6, 70, 53.2 and 53.0 degrees to the equator. Most of SpaceX’s recent Starlink launches have launched satellites into Shell 4 at a 53.2-degree tilt after the company nearly completed its first launch into his 53-degree tilt shell last year.

Shell 5 of the Starlink network is widely believed to be one of the constellation’s polar orbiting layers, with an inclination of 97.6 degrees. However, the names of the first few Gen2 missions (Starlink 5-1, 5-2, and 5-3) seem to suggest that SpaceX changed the Starlink shell naming scheme.

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

The SpaceX launch team was stationed inside Firing Room 4 of the Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Control Center for Thursday’s overnight countdown. SpaceX began loading ultra-cooled, densified kerosene and liquid oxygen propellants into the Falcon 9 vehicle at T-minus 35 minutes.

Helium pressurizer also flowed into the rocket during the final 30 minutes of the countdown. In his last seven minutes before takeoff, the Falcon 9’s Merlin Main his engines were thermally tuned for flight by a procedure known as “chilldown”. The Falcon 9’s guidance and range safety systems were also configured for launch.

After takeoff, the Falcon 9 rocket diverted 1.7 million pounds of thrust (produced by nine Merlin engines) and headed southeast across the Atlantic Ocean. SpaceX resumed launches this winter using the southeast corridor from Cape Canaveral instead of a northeast trajectory to take advantage of favorable sea conditions for the landing of the Falcon 9 first stage booster.

Over the summer and fall, SpaceX launched Starlink missions on a route heading northeast from Florida’s Space Coast.

The Falcon 9 rocket exceeded the speed of sound in about one minute and shut down its nine main engines two and a half minutes after takeoff. The booster stage was separated from the Falcon 9’s upper stage, firing pulses from cold gas control thrusters and extending titanium grid fins to help propel the craft back into the atmosphere.

About nine minutes after takeoff, the drone ship A Shortfall of Gravitas underwent two braking burns and the rocket landed about 410 miles (660 kilometers) below. The reusable booster, designated B1069 in SpaceX’s inventory, made its carrier’s fifth launch and landing on Thursday.

The Falcon 9’s reusable payload fairing was jettisoned during the second stage burn. A recovery vessel was also docked in the Atlantic Ocean to retrieve her two halves of the nosecone, which landed under a parachute.

The landing of Thursday’s mission’s first stage occurred just as the Falcon 9’s second stage engine was shutting down to bring the Starlink satellite into parking orbit. Another short firing of the upper stage engine injected Starlink’s payload into a more circular orbit, ready for maneuver to deploy the satellite.

A 53 Starlink spacecraft built by SpaceX in Redmond, Washington, was confirmed to have separated from a Falcon 9 rocket about 64 minutes after launch.

The Falcon 9’s guidance computer was intended to place the satellite in a roughly circular orbit with an inclination of 43 degrees to the equator and altitudes ranging from 202 miles to 213 miles (325 x 343 kilometers). After separating from the rocket, the 53 Starlink spacecraft will deploy a solar array, perform an automated start-up procedure, and use ion engines to enter an operational orbit 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

release date: February 2, 2023

Launch time: 2:58:20 AM ET (0758:20 GMT)

weather forecast: Over 90% chance of acceptable weather. Low to moderate risk of upper winds.Low risk of adverse conditions for booster collection

Booster recovery: Drone ship “A Shortfall of Gravitas” in the northeast of the Bahamas

Launch Azimuth: southeast

Target trajectory: 202 miles x 213 miles (325 kilometers x 343 kilometers), slope 43.0 degrees

Launch timeline:

  • T+00:00: Liftoff
  • T+01:12: Maximum aerodynamic pressure (Max-Q)
  • T+02:28: 1st Stage Main Engine Cutoff (MECO)
  • T+02:31: Stage Separation
  • T+02:38: Second stage engine ignition
  • T+02:43: Fairing jettison
  • T+06:41: 1st stage approach combustion ignition (3 engines)
  • T+07:00: 1st Stage Entry Burn Cutoff
  • T+08:23: 1st stage landing combustion ignition (one engine)
  • T+08:35: Stage 2 engine shutdown (SECO 1)
  • T+08:44: First stage landing
  • T+1:03:56: Separation of Starlink satellites

Mission stats:

  • 201st Falcon 9 rocket launch since 2010
  • 211st Falcon rocket family launch 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 overall shot from pad 39A
  • 142nd flight of a repurposed Falcon 9 booster
  • 71st Falcon 9 launch primarily dedicated to Starlink network
  • Seventh Falcon 9 launch in 2023
  • Eighth launch by SpaceX in 2023
  • Sixth orbital launch attempt to be based at Cape Canaveral in 2023

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