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“SpaceX Prepares to Launch Largest Batch of Starlink Satellites Yet”

SpaceX, the aerospace company founded by Elon Musk, is gearing up for its largest launch of Starlink satellites yet. The company has loaded 24 Starlink V2 Minis onto its Falcon 9 rocket, which is currently being prepared for flight at the Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The liftoff of the Starlink 6-39 mission is scheduled for 8:59 p.m. EST on Saturday.

This launch will mark the 11th dedicated Starlink mission in 2024 and will include one more second-generation Starlink satellite than previous flights. It remains unclear how SpaceX has achieved this extra capacity, whether through modifications to the Falcon 9 vehicle, changes to the flight profile, or a reduction in the mass of each satellite. The first V2 mini delivery mission in February 2023 carried 21 satellites, and the capacity has gradually increased since then.

Spaceflight Now will provide live coverage of the launch starting approximately one hour before liftoff. After liftoff, about eight and a half minutes later, the Falcon 9 first stage booster, tail number 1069, will land on SpaceX’s droneship named ‘A Shortfall of Gravitas.’ This will be the 59th landing on this particular droneship and the 215th droneship landing overall.

The Starlink satellites will be deployed from the Falcon 9 upper stage about an hour after liftoff. This launch will bring the total number of Starlink satellites launched to 5,896, according to astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell’s statistics.

In addition to the upcoming launch, SpaceX has recently announced a new partnership with The Bahamas. The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation (MOTIA) has signed a Letter of Agreement (LOA) with SpaceX to allow the company’s East Coast-based droneships to be stationed east of The Exumas for booster landings. This agreement will provide exclusive visibility of rocket landings from areas around The Bahamas, making it a unique destination worldwide.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments & Aviation in The Bahamas, Hon. I. Chester Cooper, expressed excitement about the partnership, stating that it marks a new era for The Bahamas. He emphasized the economic growth, job creation, and enhanced educational opportunities that this collaboration will bring.

The Bahamian government aims to utilize this partnership not only for rocket reusability efforts but also to leverage Starlink’s high-speed internet from space to benefit its citizens in areas such as education and emergency response. Starlink internet access was first established in The Bahamas in August 2023.

Philip Brave Davis, the prime minister of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, also highlighted the agreement’s potential to improve connectivity for schools and enhance the capabilities of first responders.

For SpaceX, the new landing zone in The Bahamas will optimize trajectories for launches into orbits that require more southerly trajectories. This will minimize the need for “dog leg” maneuvers to avoid the Bahamas, ultimately allowing the Falcon 9 to carry more Starlink satellites.

Overall, the upcoming Starlink 6-39 mission and the partnership with The Bahamas demonstrate SpaceX’s commitment to expanding its satellite network and exploring new opportunities for collaboration. With each launch, SpaceX moves closer to its goal of providing global high-speed internet coverage through its Starlink constellation.


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