Live coverage of the countdown and launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Starlink 4-22 mission launched SpaceX’s next batch of 53 Starlink broadband satellites. Follow us Twitter.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 10:20 a.m. EDT (1420 GMT) on Sunday with 53 Starlink internet satellites. The mission marks SpaceX’s fourth launch in 10 days, and SpaceX’s 31st launch in 2022, tying the record for Falcon 9 missions in a calendar year.
The Falcon 9 booster has landed aboard the parked SpaceX drone in the Atlantic Ocean northeast of Cape Canaveral.
The rocket headed northeast of Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, aiming to connect broadband and packaged relay stations into an orbit between 144 miles and 210 miles (232 x 338 kilometers). 53 flat-packed satellites deployed from the upper stage of the Falcon 9 about 15 minutes after liftoff.
With Sunday’s mission, designated Starlink 4-22, SpaceX launched 2,858 Starlink Internet satellites, including prototypes and test units that are no longer in service. Thursday’s launch marks SpaceX’s 51st mission primarily dedicated to moving Starlink Internet satellites into orbit.
Stationed inside a firing room at Launch Control Center just south of Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, the SpaceX launch team began loading ultra-cold, condensed kerosene and liquid oxygen thrusters into the 229-foot (70 m) Falcon 9 at T-minus 35 minute.
Compressor helium also poured into the rocket in the last half hour of the countdown. In the last seven minutes before takeoff, the Falcon 9 Merlin’s main engines were thermally adapted to fly by a procedure known as “chilldown”. The Falcon 9’s guidance and field safety systems are also configured for launch.
After liftoff, the Falcon 9 missile directed 1.7 million pounds of thrust — produced by nine Merlin engines — to point northeast over the Atlantic Ocean.
The missile exceeded the speed of sound in about one minute, and then shut down its nine main engines two and a half minutes after takeoff. The boost stage was fired from the Falcon 9’s upper stage, then fired pulses from cold gas control thrusters and extended titanium grille fins to help steer the vehicle back into the atmosphere.
Brake burns slowed the missile as it landed aboard the “read instructions only” drone about 400 miles (650 kilometers) after about eight and a half minutes of take-off.
The booster – tail number B1051 – that flew on Sunday is one of the oldest reusable rockets in the SpaceX fleet. It was first launched in March 2019 with the first unmanned test flight of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon vehicle. Since then, the booster has launched the Canadian Radarsat Constellation Mission, SiriusXM’s SXM 7 broadcasting satellite, and nine Starlink missions.
With Sunday’s mission, B1051 became the third booster in SpaceX’s inventory to reach 13 flights. SpaceX has certified Falcon 9 boosters for at least 15 missions, an extension of the original certification for 10 flights.
The first-stage landing on Sunday’s mission occurred moments after the Falcon 9’s second-stage engine failed to deliver Starlink satellites into orbit. The separation of the 53 spacecraft, built by SpaceX in Redmond, Washington, has been confirmed at T+ plus 15 minutes and 28 seconds.
Retaining rods were fired from the Starlink payload stack, allowing the flat-packed satellites to fly freely from the Falcon 9’s upper stage into orbit. The 53 spacecraft will rotate and power the solar arrays through automated activation steps, then use krypton-fueled ion engines to maneuver into their operational orbit.
Falcon 9’s guidance computer for deploying satellites in an elliptical orbit at an orbital inclination of 53.2° to the equator. The satellites will use onboard thrust to do the rest of the work to reach a circular orbit 335 miles (540 kilometers) above Earth.
Starlink satellites will fly in one of five orbital “shells” in different directions of the global Internet for SpaceX. After reaching their operational orbit, the satellites will enter commercial service and begin transmitting broadband signals to consumers, who can purchase Starlink service and connect to the network through a ground station provided by SpaceX.
missiles: Falcon 9 (B1051.13)
Payload: 53 Starlink satellites (Starlink 4-22)
Website launch: SLC-40, Cape Canaveral Space Station, Florida
Opening dates: July 17 2022
launch time: 10:20:00 AM EST (1420:00 GMT)
weather forecast: 50% chance of acceptable weather; low risk of upper level winds; Reduced risk of conditions unfavorable to enhanced recovery
Recovery from reinforcement: Drone “Just Read Instructions” Drone East of Charleston, South Carolina
AZIMUTH LAUNCH: the Northeast
Orbit goals: 144 miles by 210 miles (232 kilometers by 338 kilometers), 53.2 degrees miles
- T+00:00: take off
- T+01: 12: maximum air pressure (Max-Q)
- T+02:28: 1st stage of main engine cut-off (MICO)
- T+02:32: Separation stage
- T+02:39: Ignite the engine in the second stage
- T+02:43: Get rid of the calm
- T+06:50: Ignition of burning entering the first stage (three engines)
- T+07:09: First stage entry combustion cut off
- T+08:26: 1st stage combustion ignition (single engine)
- T+08: 47: Engine cut-off in second stage (SECO 1)
- T+08:48: First stage landing
- T+15:28: Starlink satellite disconnect
- The 165th launch of the Falcon 9 since 2010
- The 173rd launch of the Falcon family since 2006
- The 13th launch of the Falcon 9 Booster B1051
- Falcon 9 143 launched from Florida’s space coast
- Falcon 9 92 launched from the 40 . platform
- 147th release overall from plate 40
- Flight 107 of the reused Falcon 9 booster
- The launch of the 51st custom Falcon 9 with Starlink satellites
- The 31st Falcon 9 will be launched in 2022
- SpaceX’s 31st launch in 2022
- The 31st orbital launch from Cape Canaveral in 2022
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