SpaceX It launched 50 Starlink Internet satellites and landed the returning rocket on a ship at sea today (February 25).
two stages Falcon 9 Rocket topped with 50 starlink The spacecraft blasted off online from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California today at 12:12 p.m. EDT (1712 GMT; 9:12 a.m. California local time).
Just under nine minutes later, the first stage of Falcon 9 returned to Earth for a vertical landing on Of Course I Still Love You, a SpaceX drone that was stationed hundreds of miles off the California coast.
Meanwhile, the second stage continued to carry 50 satellites into orbit. The spacecraft deployed as planned about an hour after liftoff, SpaceX confirmed via Twitter today.
This was the fourth time this booster missile had been launched and landed. The first stage also helped launch NASA’s Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich Earth observation satellite and the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites in November 2020, as well as 60 Starlink satellites in May 2021 and the Dual Spacecraft for NASA’s asteroid redirection test in November . 2021, SpaceX representatives said.
This reuse is a priority for SpaceX and its founder and CEO, Elon Musk. Musk aims to help humanity colonize Mars, and the billionaire entrepreneur believes that fully and quickly reusable rockets are the key breakthrough needed to make that happen.
Today’s launch was SpaceX’s third February Starlink mission, after launching 49 satellites on February 3 and launching 46 satellites on Monday (February 21). The February 21 mission was marked by 100 Falcon 9 first stage landings during an orbital flight.
The February 3 mission was also notable, but for a completely different reason. Shortly after liftoff, a solar explosion triggered a geomagnetic storm on Earth, thickening our atmosphere sufficiently By shooting down most of the newly launched satellites by drag. SpaceX said it will launch the Starlink spacecraft to slightly higher initial altitudes in the future to protect against such storms.
SpaceX has launched more than 2,000 Starlink satellites so far, and many more are set to go up. The company has permission to launch 12,000 broadband spacecraft, and has applied for approval to launch up to 30,000 more.
Editor’s Note: This story was updated at 12:30PM EST with news of the successful launch and rocket landing, and then again at 1:20PM ET with news of the satellite deployment.
Mike Wall is the author of “AbroadBook (Great Grand Publishing House, 2018; illustrated by Carl Tate), a book on the search for extraterrestrials. Follow him on Twitter Tweet embed. Follow us on Twitter Tweet embed or on Facebook.
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