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SpaceX Successfully Launched 21 New Starlink Internet Satellites to Orbit

Yusuf Balogun
Yusuf Balogun
Yusuf is a law graduate and freelance journalist with a keen interest in tech reporting.

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In the early hours of today, Tuesday, September 12, SpaceX announced the successful launch of its new Starlink internet satellites on the Falcon 9 rocket to orbit via X (formerly Twitter). The new launch carries 21 satellites from California’s Vandenberg Space Force Base on Tuesday at 2:57 a.m. EDT.

The video shared by the spacecraft manufacturer shows that about 8.5 minutes after launch, the first stage of the Falcon 9 made a scheduled return to Earth and touched down in the Pacific Ocean on the drone ship, Of Course, I Still Love You. Additionally, according to the mission summary on the SpaceX website, this was the first launch and landing for this first-stage booster.

Falcon 9’s 21 New Starlink Internet Satellites

The mission, known as Starlink Group 7-2, launched 21 second-generation Starlink satellites into an equatorial orbit that is inclined at a 53-degree angle and measures 185,178 miles (297,286 km). The V2 Mini satellite, which will be launched in the future by SpaceX’s reusable Starship vehicle, is a scaled-down counterpart of the full-sized V2 Starlink internet satellites. It will be the 18th launch of a satellite in the V2 Mini series.

The Falcon 9 first stage will fire for roughly two and a half minutes after launching from Vandenberg Air Force Base on a southerly trajectory before the second stage takes over to finish the journey to orbit. On its eleventh flight, the first stage booster with the tail number B1071 will touch down on the drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You,” which is positioned 416 miles (670 km) from Vandenberg off the coast of Baja California.

Shortly after the launcher lands, the second stage is said to finish its first burn and enter an initial parking orbit. After around 45 minutes of coasting, it will fire for two seconds to enter the desired orbit. The 21 satellites will start to deploy at T+1 hour, 2 minutes, and 19 seconds.

According to data compiled by Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who manages a space flight database, the total number of Starlink internet satellites launched as of this writing is 5,070. SpaceX reported having more than 1.5 million Starlink subscribers in May. There are more than 60 nations where internet service is accessible.


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