SpaceX launches 49 more Starlinks in rapid launch sequence

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Maintaining a rapid launch pace, SpaceX launched its third Falcon 9 of the year on Tuesday, boosting 49 more Starlink internet satellites into orbit as the company continues to build a global network of commercial broadband relay stations.

Falcon 9, using a first stage making its 10th flight, came to life and lifted away from historic pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center at 9:02 p.m. ET, circling above a full moon as it headed to the southeast. trajectory inclined 53 degrees at the equator.

A time exhibit captures the launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket onto a full moon on Tuesday as it lifted away from historic Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center. It was SpaceX’s 121st launch from Florida, but only the sixth taking off on a southeasterly trajectory.

William Harwood/CBS News

After propelling the rocket out of the lower atmosphere, the first stage fell and lifted off to land on an off-shore drone. It was SpaceX’s 103rd successful recovery and its 79th at sea.

The second stage slipped into its intended orbit seconds later, and all 49 Starlinks were released to fly on their own minutes later.

The Falcon 9 second stage engine exhaust plume expands in the low pressure environment of the extreme upper atmosphere, creating a ghostly cloud. The rocket’s first stage is visible to the left, along with the two halves of the rocket’s derelict nose cone fairing.

SpaceX webcast

The launch was the third so far this year for SpaceX, following another Starlink Flight on January 6 and a “carpool” mission on January 13 that put 105 small satellites into orbit.

Prior to Tuesday’s flight, SpaceX had launched 1,993 Starlinks, of which 1,741 were considered functional. The company has regulatory approval to launch more than 12,000 Starlinks to provide commercial Internet access from space to customers around the world.


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