SpaceX launches 53 Starlink satellites into orbit
SpaceX lofted another set of Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit with its Falcon 9 rocket, continuing the company’s nearly once-a-week launch cadence.
Taking flight at 1:51 p.m. EDT (17:51 UTC) April 21, 2022, from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, a Falcon 9 rocket sent 53 Starlink internet satellites into orbit.
The first stage of the Falcon 9, core B1060, flew its 12th mission, landing on SpaceX’s drone ship “Just Read The Instructions” approximately 390 miles (629 kilometers) downrange in the Atlantic Ocean.
SpaceX is also hoping to recover the two payload fairings used to protect the satellites during the first few minutes of liftoff. They are set to be recovered by another one of the company’s recovery ships, Doug, staged 400 miles (650 kilometers) downrange.
Today’s successful launch of 53 Starlink V1.5 satellites brings the total operational in orbit to more than 2,100.
This was the 15th Falcon 9 mission in 2022 and 149th overall since 2010. SpaceX hopes to launch as many as 50-60 times in 2022.
Another SpaceX Falcon 9 is set to launch Crew Dragon Freedom and four Crew-4 astronauts to the International Space Station for a five-month stay. However, liftoff for that mission is dependent on the undocking and return of the Axiom Space Ax-1 crew, which has been delayed due to poor weather in the recovery zones.
Ax-1 is currently scheduled to undock April 23 and splashdown off the coast of Florida April 24. Under that schedule, Crew-4 would likely not launch until at least April 26.
Video courtesy of SpaceX
Theresa Cross grew up on the Space Coast. It’s only natural that she would develop a passion for anything “Space” and its exploration. During these formative years, she also discovered that she possessed a talent and love for defining the unique quirks and intricacies that exist in mankind, nature, and machines. Hailing from a family of photographers—including her father and her son, Theresa herself started documenting her world through pictures at a very early age. As an adult, she now exhibits an innate photographic ability to combine what appeals to her heart and her love of technology to deliver a diversified approach to her work and artistic presentations. Theresa has a background in water chemistry, fluid dynamics, and industrial utility.