The Falcon 9 rocket made a smooth landing on the SpaceX A Shortfall of Gravity drone ship about 8 minutes and 45 seconds after liftoff. Photos/SpaceX/Teslarati
The Falcon 9 rocket ascended smoothly through the predawn darkness and fired its first stage about 2 minutes and 30 seconds after liftoff. The first stage then made a smooth landing on the SpaceX A Shortfall of Gravity drone ship about 8 minutes and 45 seconds after liftoff.
The Falcon 9 rocket previously launched another large number of Starlink satellites. These include SpaceX’s CRS-24 cargo mission to the International Space Station in December 2021. Delivery of Eutelsat’s Hotbird 13F telecommunications satellite in October 2022 and launch of OneWeb 1 in December 2022.
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OneWeb 1 sent 40 internet satellites into orbit for the mega-constellation operator OneWeb, which is rated as a Starlink competitor to SpaceX. The London-based company signed launch contracts with SpaceX and the commercial agency of India’s national space agency after its deal to fly Russian Soyuz rockets fell through.
SpaceX has launched two missions for OneWeb; the second launched on January 9. Thursday’s launch was the fourth this year that SpaceX has devoted to Starlink, the company’s large and growing constellation of broadband satellites.
Quoted from the Space.com page. Thursday (2/2/2023), SpaceX has launched more than 3,800 Starlink satellites to date. But the company has a license to install 12,000 internet satellites, and has applied for approval to deploy an additional 30,000 Starlink satellites.
All Starlink satellites to date have flown on Falcon 9 rockets, but that could change soon. SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk said the company relied on the Falcon 9 rocket, before the Starship rocket was actually ready.
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The Starship rocket is still in development, but could make its debut orbital test flight soon, possibly in late February. This rocket is for transporting the next-generation, larger Starlink 2.0 spacecraft.