Falcon 9 to Launch Starlink Satellites From Vandenberg Tonight

Credit: SpaceX

VANDENBERG SPACE FORCE BASE, Calif. (SpaceX PR) — SpaceX is targeting Monday, September 13 for a Falcon 9 launch of 51 Starlink satellites from Space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The instantaneous window is at 8:55 p.m. PDT, or September 14 at 3:55 UTC, and a backup opportunity is available on Tuesday, September 14 at 8:56 p.m. PDT, or September 15 at 3:56 UTC.

The booster supporting this mission previously launched Telstar 18 VANTAGE, Iridium-8, and seven Starlink missions. Following stage separation, SpaceX will land Falcon 9’s first stage on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship, which will be stationed in the Pacific Ocean. One half of Falcon 9’s fairing halves previously supported NROL-108 and the other previously flew on GPS III-3 and Turksat-5A.

A live webcast of this mission will begin about 15 minutes prior to liftoff.

Launch 2020: U.S. Reclaimed Top Spot, Flew Astronauts Again from American Soil

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is launched from Launch Complex 39A on NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley aboard, Saturday, May 30, 2020, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls & Joel Kowsky)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The United States reclaimed the top spot in launches from China last year as NASA astronauts flew into orbit from American soil for the first time in nearly nine years, SpaceX deployed the world’s first satellite mega-constellation with reused rockets, and two new launchers debuted with less than stellar results.

American companies conducted 44 launches in 2020, with 40 successes and four failures. Bryce Tech reports that U.S. companies accounted for 32 of the 41 commercial launches conducted last year. The majority of those flights were conducted by SpaceX, which launched 25 orbital missions.

China came in second with a record of 35 successful launches and four failures. The 39 launch attempts tied that nation’s previous record for flights during a calendar year.

Let’s take a closer look at what U.S. companies achieved last year.

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SpaceX Launches 60 More Starlink Satellites

Falcon 9 launches from Florida on May 4, 2021. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

SpaceX launched 60 Starlink broadband satellites into orbit aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Elon Musk’s company has now launched 1,565 Starlink spacecraft, with 1,498 in orbit.

The Falcon 9 first stage landed on the Of Course I Still Love You drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean. It was the ninth landing for the booster, which previously supported the launches of Telstar 18 VANTAGE, Iridium-8, and six Starlink missions.

Quarterly Launch Report: US in the Lead Thanks to SpaceX

A Falcon 9 lifts off with 60 Starlink satellites on March 11, 2021. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

There were 27 orbital launch attempts with 26 successes and one failure during the first quarter of 2021. The United States accounted for nearly half the total with 13 launches behind nine flights by SpaceX.

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SpaceX Launches 60 Starlink Satellites; First Stage Lost During Landing Attempt

Falcon 9 launches 60 Starlink satellites. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE STATION, Fla. — On Monday, February 15 at 10:59 p.m. EST, SpaceX launched 60 Starlink satellites from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

SpaceX has now launched 1,145 Starlink satellites, with 1081 still in orbit. The company has received approval to launch nearly 12,000 satellites to provide broadband services around the globe.

This was the sixth launch of this Falcon 9 booster, which previously supported Dragon’s 19th and 20th cargo resupply missions to the International Space Station, SAOCOM 1B, NROL-108, and a Starlink mission.

The Falcon 9’s first stage crashed into the ocean near the Of Course I Still Love You drone ship. There appeared to be an anomaly during the entry burn. It was SpaceX’s first failure to land a Falcon 9 first stage since March 2020.

SpaceX to Launch 60 Starlink Satellites Monday Night

Credit: SpaceX

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (SpaceX PR) — SpaceX is targeting Monday, February 15 for launch of 60 Starlink satellites from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The instantaneous window is at 10:59 p.m. EST, or 3:59 UTC on February 16.

The Falcon 9 first stage rocket booster supporting this mission previously flew on five missions: Dragon’s 19th and 20th commercial resupply missions to the International Space Station, a Starlink mission, the SAOCOM 1B mission, and the NROL-108 mission. Following stage separation, SpaceX will land Falcon 9’s first stage on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship, which will be located in the Atlantic Ocean.  You can watch the launch webcast live starting about 15 minutes before liftoff. 

Starlink is now delivering initial beta service both domestically and internationally, and will continue expansion to near global coverage of the populated world in 2021. To see if Starlink is available in your area, visit starlink.com

SpaceX Launches 60 More Starlink Satellites; Second Starlink Launch Planned for Friday

On Thursday, February 4 at 1:19 a.m. EST, SpaceX launched 60 Starlink satellites from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

Following stage separation, Falcon 9’s first stage successfully returned to Earth and landed on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean, completing this booster’s fifth launch and landing.

SpaceX will launch a second batch of 60 Starlink satellites on Friday, February 5 at 5:14 a.m. EST from Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. SpaceX will webcast the launch starting 15 minutes before liftoff at www.spacex.com.

SpaceX has now launched 1,085 of the broadband satellites into orbit. A total of 1,021 remain in orbit.

SpaceX Launches Record 143 Satellites

Falcon 9 launches Transporter-1 rideshare mission. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

SpaceX set a new world record on Sunday by launching 143 satellites into Earth orbit aboard a Falcon 9 rocket.

The Sunday morning polar orbit launch included 133 commercial and government spacecraft along with 10 satellites for SpaceX’s Starlink broadband communications constellation. The launch was conducted from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

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SpaceX Launches 60 Starlink Satellites

A Falcon 9 rocket lifts off with 60 Starlink satellites. (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX launched 60 Starlink satellites from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Tuesday, raising the number of spacecraft launched for the broadband Internet constellation to 775.

The successful flight followed three scrubs, two for bad weather and the other due to a ground sensor issue.

Falcon 9’s first stage successfully landed on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship. The booster previously supported launch of Crew Dragon’s first flight to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts onboard and the ANASIS-II mission. It was the 43rd flight with a reused first stage.

Ms. Tree recovering boat captured a fairing half that was used in two previous launches.