SpaceX reaches nearly 6,000 Starlink satellites in orbit following Falcon 9 launch from Cape Canaveral – Spaceflight Now

A Falcon 9 rocket flies into the night sky over Florida on May 12, 2024 as it flies on the Starlink 6-58 mission. Image: Adam Bernstein/Space Travel Now

SpaceX launched 23 Starlink satellites on its Falcon 9 rocket from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. This mission brings the total number of Starlink satellites into orbit to 5,999. According to For numbers released Sunday by expert orbital observer and astronomer Jonathan McDowell. He noted that one of the satellites, listed as S-2601, had re-entered the atmosphere earlier in the day.

Liftoff of the Starlink 6-58 mission from Space Launch Complex 40 took place at 8:53 PM EDT (0053 UTC). This will be SpaceX’s 34th dedicated Starlink launch in 2024.

The Falcon 9 first stage booster supporting the mission, B1073, made its 15th flight in the SpaceX fleet. Among its previous missions, B1073 launched ispace’s HAKUTO-R lunar lander, SpaceX’s 27th Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-27) mission and the Bandwagon-1 rideshare flight.

Eight minutes after liftoff, B1073 landed on the SpaceX droneship, ‘A Shortfall of Gravitas’. This is the 69th booster landing for ASOG and the 307th booster landing for SpaceX.

SpaceX will launch its Falcon 9 rocket on mission Starlink 6-58 on May 12, 2024. Image: Michael Caine/Space Travel Now

The mission came at the end of a weekend of historic solar activity that brought auroras as far south as Florida. On Friday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) noted that at least five coronal mass ejections were observed by NOAAs. Space Weather Prediction Center At that point.

As of Sunday morning, the SWPC said a “G4 or greater watch” was in effect until May 12, noting that “severe to severe geomagnetic storms are possible again later today.”

In a post on his social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter), Elon Musk said SpaceX is closely monitoring the impact of solar storms on the Starlink constellation.

Starship Flight Four

The launch in Florida also comes as SpaceX nears the fourth integrated flight test of its Starship rocket in South Texas. The Super Heavy Booster (Booster 11) is currently on the Orbital Launch Mount (OLM) and the Ship 29 upper stage was stacked on Sunday afternoon.

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In a separate post, Musk said he expects IFT-4 to be “probably three to five weeks away,” which would put the mission in the first half of June.

While the company awaits Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval for the next Starship launch, the FAA announced that it will conduct an environmental review of Starship launches at Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

A pair of in-person scoping meetings are set for June 12 and 13 in Cape Canaveral and Merritt Island. A virtual meeting is scheduled for June 17.

While the final environmental assessment for Starship was completed in September 2019, the FAA said, “SpaceX has not submitted a vehicle operator license application for Starship-Super Heavy launch operations on LC-39A after the completion of the 2019 EA; Therefore, the FAA does not have a federal action to accept NASA’s EA/FONSI (Finding of No Significant Impact).”

The company said that SpaceX is now proposes The new launch infrastructure is not part of the 2019 EA and aims to launch 44 missiles per year. SpaceX will conduct the Super Heavy Booster and Starship landings on the LC-39A or droneship for reusable missions or dispose of them at sea for expendable missions.

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