#SpaceX launch 22 Starlink 'V2 mini' satellites into orbit, lands rocket at sea
SpaceX launched a fleet of new Starlink internet satellites into orbit early Sunday (June 4), kicking off the first of a space launch doubleheader from Florida.
The launch of SpaceX's Starlink mission today had been delayed from May 30, when the company also launched 52 other Starlink satellites. The need for final technical checks on the Falcon 9 booster and bad weather kept the flight on the ground until Sunday.
SpaceX's V2 Mini satellites are more powerful versions of its earlier Starlink spacecraft. The new satellites provide greater broadband capacity, according to the company, and are fitted out with Hall thruster electric propulsion systems, which provide more than twice the amount of thrust compared to those used on older iterations.
The 22 new satellites were expected to be deployed into orbit just over one hour after liftoff, according to a SpaceX mission timeline.
There are over 4,000 Starlink satellites in orbit, and the company has regulatory approval to launch up to 12,000 more. SpaceX is, however, applying for permission to add 30,000 more satellites to the project.
Today's Starlink launch marked the third flight for the Falcon 9 first-stage booster used on the mission, SpaceX officials said. It previously flew on SpaceX's Crew-6 astronaut launch for NASA and a commercial satellite flight that launched the SES 03b mPower satellites.
The flight marked SpaceX's 37th launch of 2023 and the 237th successful mission overall. The Falcon 9 touchdown was also SpaceX's 197th successful landing of an orbital-class rocket.
Correction: This story has been updated to correct the name of the drone ship used for SpaceX's rocket landing after launch. It was Just Read The Instructions, not A Shortfall of Gravitas.
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