SpaceX launches heaviest payload on Falcon 9 rocket – Spaceflight Now

“Our motion will enable SpaceX to start deployment of Gen2 Starlink, which can convey subsequent era satellite tv for pc broadband to Individuals nationwide, together with these dwelling and dealing in areas historically werved or underserved by terrestrial methods,” the FCC wrote in its Dec. 1 order partially approving the Starlink Gen2 constellation. “Our motion additionally will allow worldwide satellite tv for pc broadband service, serving to to shut the digital divide on a worldwide scale.

“On the similar time, this restricted grant and related situations will defend different satellite tv for pc and terrestrial operators from dangerous interference and preserve a protected area surroundings, selling competitors and defending spectrum and orbital sources for future use,” the FCC wrote. “We defer motion on the rest of SpaceX’s software right now.”

Particularly, the FCC granted SpaceX authority to launch the preliminary block of seven,500 Starlink Gen2 satellites into orbits at 525, 530, and 535 kilometers, with inclinations of 53, 43, and 33 levels, respectively, utilizing Ku-band and Ka-band frequencies . The FCC deferred a call on SpaceX’s request to function Starlink Gen2 satellites in increased and decrease orbits.

Like the primary Gen2 launch final month, the Starlink 5-2 mission Thursday focused the 530-kilometer-high (329-mile) orbit at an inclination of 43 levels to the equator.

The Starlink 5-2 mission will add 56 extra satellites to SpaceX’s Starlink web community. Credit score: Spaceflight Now

SpaceX at the moment has practically 3,400 functioning Starlink satellites in area, with greater than 3,100 operational and roughly 200 transferring into their operational orbits, in accordance with a tabulation by Jonathan McDowellan skilled tracker of spaceflight exercise and an astronomer on the Harvard-Smithsonian Heart for Astrophysics.

The primary-generation Starlink community structure contains satellites flying just a few hundred miles up, orbiting at inclinations of 97.6 levels, 70 levels, 53.2 levels, and 53.0 levels to the equator. Most of SpaceX’s latest Starlink launches have launched satellites into Shell 4, at an inclination of 53.2 levels, after the corporate largely accomplished launches into the primary 53-degree inclination shell final yr.

Shell 5 of the Starlink community was broadly believed to be one of many polar-orbiting layers of the constellation, at 97.6 levels inclination. However the title of the primary Gen2 missions — Starlink 5-1 and 5-2 — seem to counsel SpaceX has modified the naming scheme for the Starlink shells.

SpaceX’s launch staff was stationed inside a launch management middle simply south of Cape Canaveral House Pressure Station for Thursday’s predawn countdown. SpaceX started loading super-chilled, densified kerosene and liquid oxygen propellants into the Falcon 9 automobile at T-minus 35 minutes.

Helium pressurant additionally flowed into the rocket within the final half-hour of the countdown. Within the remaining seven minutes earlier than liftoff, the Falcon 9’s Merlin primary engines had been thermally conditioned for flight via a process often called “chilldown.” The Falcon 9’s steerage and vary security methods had been additionally configured for launch.

After liftoff, the Falcon 9 rocket vectored its 1.7 million kilos of thrust — produced by 9 Merlin engines — to steer southeast over the Atlantic Ocean. SpaceX has resumed launches this winter utilizing the southeasterly hall from Cape Canaveral, fairly than trajectories to the northeast, to benefit from higher sea situations for touchdown of the Falcon 9’s first stage booster.

All through the summer time and fall, SpaceX launched Starlink missions on paths towards the northeast from Florida’s House Coast.

The Falcon 9 rocket exceeded the pace of sound in about one minute, then shut down its 9 primary engines two-and-a-half minutes after liftoff. The booster stage separated from the Falcon 9’s higher stage, then fired pulses from chilly gasoline management thrusters and prolonged titanium grid fins to assist steer the automobile again into the environment.

Two braking burns slowed the rocket for touchdown on the drone ship “Simply Learn the Directions” round 410 miles (660 kilometers) downrange roughly 9 minutes after liftoff. The reusable booster, designated B1067 in SpaceX’s stock, accomplished its ninth journey to area Thursday.

The Falcon 9’s reusable payload fairing jettisoned in the course of the second stage burn. A restoration ship was additionally on station within the Atlantic to retrieve the 2 halves of the nostril cone after they splash down below parachutes.

Touchdown of the primary stage on Thursday’s mission occurred simply because the Falcon 9’s second stage engine reduce off to ship the Starlink satellites into orbit.

Separation of the 56 Starlink spacecraft, constructed by SpaceX in Redmond, Washington, from the Falcon 9 rocket occurred 19 minutes after liftoff. SpaceX’s floor staff waited to verify the spacecraft deployment milestone when the rocket handed in vary of a monitoring station in Australia about an hour after liftoff.

The Falcon 9’s steerage laptop aimed to deploy the satellites into an elliptical orbit at an inclination of 43 levels to the equator, with an altitude ranging between 131 miles and 209 miles (212-by-337 kilometers). After separating from the rocket, the 56 Starlink spacecraft will unfurl photo voltaic arrays and run via automated activation steps, then use ion engines to maneuver into their operational orbit.

ROCKETS: Falcon 9 (B1067.9)

PAY LOAD: 56 Starlink satellites (Starlink 5-2)

LAUNCH SITE: SLC-40, Cape Canaveral House Pressure Station, Florida

LAUNCH DATE: Jan 26, 2023

LAUNCHTIME: 4:32:20 am EST (0932:20 GMT)

WEATHER FORECAST: 70% probability of acceptable climate; Low to average threat of higher stage winds; Low threat of unfavorable situations for booster restoration

BOOSTER RECOVERY: “Simply Learn the Directions” drone ship northeast of the Bahamas


TARGET ORBIT: 131 miles by 209 miles (212 kilometers by 337 kilometers), 43.0 levels inclination


  • T+00:00: Elevate off
  • T+01:12: Most aerodynamic stress (Max-Q)
  • T+02:28: First stage primary engine cutoff (MECO)
  • T+02:31: Stage separation
  • T+02:38: Second stage engine ignition
  • T+02:42: Fairing jettison
  • T+06:42: First stage entry burn ignition (three engines)
  • T+07:00: First stage entry burn cutoff
  • T+08:23: First stage touchdown burn ignition (one engine)
  • T+08:43: Second stage engine cutoff (SECO 1)
  • T+08:44: First stage touchdown
  • T+18:49: Starlink satellite tv for pc separation


  • 199th launch of a Falcon 9 rocket since 2010
  • 209th launch of Falcon rocket household since 2006
  • ninth launch of Falcon 9 booster B1067
  • 171st Falcon 9 launch from Florida’s House Coast
  • 111th Falcon 9 launched from pad 40
  • 166th launch general from pad 40
  • 141st flight of a reused Falcon 9 booster
  • 69th Falcon 9 launch primarily devoted to Starlink community
  • fifth Falcon 9 launch of 2023
  • sixth launch by SpaceX in 2023
  • fifth orbital launch try primarily based out of Cape Canaveral in 2023

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