Updated: Apr 22
Today's mission lofted 53 of SpaceX's Starlink internet satellites
April 21, 2022/ A two-stage SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket "Booster; B1060-12" lifted off for a 12th time on Thursday at 1:51:40 p.m. EDT (17:51:40 UTC) from Florida's Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, carrying 53 of SpaceX's Starlink internet satellites to orbit.
It was the 12th liftoff for this particular Falcon 9 first stage which previously launched the GPS III-3, Turksat 5A, Transporter-2, and eight other Starlink missions, tying a SpaceX reuse record set just last month on a different Starlink launch using the Booster B1051. And it likely won't be this booster's last flight; about 8.5 minutes after liftoff, it came down for a safe landing on the SpaceX droneship - Marmac 303 "Just Read the Instructions' barge, stationed in the Atlantic Ocean, Falcon 9 rocket completes it's 150th mission for SpaceX. The ship Bob departed in support of Starlink 4-14 must retrieve the shells from the rocket's payload fairing.
The Falcon 9's second stage, meanwhile, continued carrying the 53 Starlink satellites deployed to its Parking Orbit at T+59:49 minutes after liftoff.
Launch, Landing and Deployment Timeline (HH:mm:ss)
00:00:00 Falcon 9 takeoff
00:01:12 Max Q (moment of maximum mechanical, aerodynamic stress on the rocket)
00:02:30 Cut-off of the 1st stage main engines (MECO)
00:02:35 separate first and second stages (staging)
00:02:42 2nd stage engine ignition (SES-1)
00:02:51 Fairing Jettison
00:06:12 Start of 1st stage re-entry firing
00:06:32 1st stage re-entry burn completed
00:08:01 Start of the 1st stage landing burn
00:08:23 First stage landing
00:08:48 1st Cut-off of the 2nd stage engine (SECO-1)
00:45:25 2nd ignition of the 2nd stage engine (SES-2)
00:45:26 2nd Cut-off of the 2nd stage engine (SECO-2)
00:59:49 Starlink satellites are deployed to Parking Orbit.
According to SpaceX, the company has launched more than 2,300 Starlink satellites to date, but continue to conduct more launches. The next-generation version of the megaconstellation could consist of up to 30,000 spacecraft, based on FCC paperwork filed by the company.
The Upcoming SpaceX/NASA Mission; Crew-4 is currently scheduled to lift off no earlier than April 26. That date recently slipped a few days due to bad weather in the projected splashdown zone for Ax-1, which pushed that mission's planned departure from the station from Tuesday (April 19) to Saturday (April 23). NASA officials demanded as they want at least a two-day window between Ax-1's splashdown and Crew-4's launch.