SpaceX launches 53 Starlink satellites into orbit from Florida
SpaceX launched its latest batch of Starlink internet satellites, the first dedicated launch for the constellation from Florida since May.
A Falcon 9 rocket left the ground at 7:19 a.m. EST (12:19 UTC) Nov. 13, 2021, from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The flight, called Group 4-1, carried 53 Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit.
This was the mission’s second launch attempt following a weather-related scrub on Nov. 12. Today, there was a layer of fog around the launch pad, but that wasn’t a constraint for liftoff.
The Falcon 9 first stage being utilized was core B1058. It was on its ninth use after a roughly 181-day turnaround.
After about 2.5 minutes, the first stage’s job was done and it separated from the second stage. The first stage landed some 385 miles (620 kilometers) downrange on SpaceX’s drone ship “Just Read the Instructions.”
Meanwhile, the second stage continued propelling the 53 Starlink satellites toward their destination in orbit, deploying them roughly 16 minutes after liftoff.
The launch was also supported by “Bob,” another SpaceX recovery vessel. Its job was to recover the payload fairings after they parachuted down to the Atlantic Ocean following their use during the first few minutes of the launch.
This flight was the 69th with a previously-flown first stage and the 25 launch for SpaceX in 2021.
Group 4-1 was the 31th operational Starlink mission, bringing the total number of internet satellites launched to date for the mega constellation to 1,844 with 1,699 working in orbit around Earth after today’s liftoff.
Starlink is SpaceX’s internet constellation. Once the constellation is complete, the profits are meant to help finance the Starship program, including the company’s future Mars ambitions.
SpaceX aims to deliver quick, low-latency internet service to locations where ground-based providers are ineffective and cost prohibitive.
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.