SpaceX has launched the G3-04 batch of Starlink satellites

Rocket Booster B1063.7 took off from Vandenberg with 46 satellites

Falcon 9 v1.2 FT BL5 rocket number 1063.7 takes off from Vandenberg, Photo Credit: SpaceX

August 31, 2022, Wednesday, SpaceX launched the Falcon 9 v1.2 FT BL5 s/n 1063.7 rocket with batch G3-04 of forty-six Starlink satellites in an initial orbit of 230 × 330 km, inclined at 97º. The rocket took off from the SLC-4E complex at Vandenberg SFB, California, at 05:40 UTC (01:40 EDT), and the release of the satellites into orbit took place at 06:43:10.840 UTC – 02:43:10.840.EDT.


A Starlink satellite v1.5. In this launch 1,425 to 1,470 were placed in orbit.

Last week, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk announced plans to stream connectivity directly to smartphones using its satellites. That project, a joint effort between SpaceX and T-Mobile called Coverage Above and Beyond, will employ Starlink Version 2 satellites, a more robust and more capable version that is expected to begin rolling out next year.


About 8.5 minutes after liftoff, Falcon 9's first stage re-entered the atmosphere and descended for a precise landing on the Marmac-304 “Of Course I Still Love You” drone ferry, which was parked in the Pacific Ocean. If the previous G4-7 mission demonstrated an increase in second stage performance, this one also had improved performance in the first stage 'core'. The 1063.7 rocket showed an increase in thrust until the main engine cut-off or MECO, at 2292 m/s, about 30 m/s faster than the previous flight.

Starlink G3-04 Mission image collection (SpaceX)

LAUNCH, LANDING AND RELEASE OF PAYLOAD

All times are approximate hh: min: ss

  • 00:00:00 Takeoff

  • 00:01:12 Max Q (moment of maximum mechanical stress on the rocket)

  • 00:02:28 Cut-off of the 1st stage main engines (MECO)

  • 00:02:32 separate first and second stages (staging)

  • 00:02:38 Ignition of the 2nd stage engines

  • 00:02:45 Fairing release

  • 00:06:11 Start of 1st stage input ignition

  • 00:06:31 1st stage re-entry ignition completed

  • 00:08:01 Start of 1st stage landing ignition

  • 00:08:23 1st stage landing

  • 00:08:44 2nd stage motor cutout (SECO-1)

  • 00:53:53 2nd stage engine ignition (SES-2)

  • 00:53:55 2nd stage engine cutout (SECO-2)

  • 01:02:56 Starlink satellites deployed

The current launch rate is one mission every 6.2 days. Thus, SpaceX can carry out 59 launches before the end of the year.


Mission statistics

  • 7th flight of the 'core' stage B1063

  • Vandenberg's 28th release

  • 39th release in 2022

  • 58th Starlink mission

  • 65th successful 'core' stage landing in a row

  • 108th reused fairing

  • 110th successful landing of the 'core' stage on the ferry (in 120 attempts)

  • 115th use of previously flown boosters

  • 139th successful landing (in 150 attempts)

  • The company's 148th consecutive successful launch

  • 173rd launch of Falcon 9

  • SpaceX's 181st launch

Starlink:

  • 3,208 satellites launched

  • 2,941 in orbit

  • 2,383 in operation



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