Spaceflight Insider

Starlink L17 launches after weeks of delays

SpaceX’s Starlink L17 mission launched in the early-morning hours of March 4, 2021, atop a Falcon 9 booster from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A. File photo from previous Starlink mission, credit: Matt Haskell / Spaceflight Insider

Departing from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Florida’s Space Coast, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket took flight from Launch Complex 39A, delivering another 60 satellites for the company’s ever-growing Starlink internet constellation.

Liftoff occurred in the early morning hours at 3:24 a.m. EST (08:24 UTC) March 4, 2021, suggesting SpaceX chose to send the satellites into a different orbital plane in low Earth orbit due to the many delays with this particular rocket. Starlink L17, as this mission was designated, was supposed to launch more than a month ago. However, Starlink launches 18 and 19 leapfrogged this flight because of the multiple postponements.

Shortly after liftoff, the Falcon 9 punched through low-level clouds and quickly disappeared from ground view. However, the flight was nominal all the way through satellite deployment.

Currently there are over 10,000 Starlink internet satellite users in the United States and abroad according to Elon Musk. SpaceX has a very aggressive pace for 2021 sending Starlink satellites to space to continue populating its global broadband internet.

This particular Starlink launch comes on the heels of the last Starlink mission ending with a sixth flown booster missing its landing on SpaceX’s drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You” and splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean.

This morning’s flight of booster core 1049 made its record-tying eighth successful launch and landing to and from space with booster 1051.
Another round of Starlink satellites is scheduled to launch at 10:41 p.m. EST March 7 (03:41 UTC March 8) from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

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.

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