Kicking off its 80th orbital flight of the year, SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket

On the eve of midnight, SpaceX launched the first of two scheduled Falcon 9 launches in less than 48 hours, launching 23 Starlink satellites. Pad 40 was lifted off at 12:05 a.m. EST (0505 UTC).

The weather for the planned launch of 23 more satellites for SpaceX’s Starlink internet service was almost ideal. On Monday, meteorologists from the 45th Weather Squadron of the United States Space Force reported that there was over 95% chance of weather suitable for launch.

It was the first launch from Space Launch Complex 40 after the site was upgraded to accommodate crew and cargo Dragon flights by SpaceX, which also connected a crew access arm to a newly built tower.

At NASA’s adjacent Kennedy Space Centre, SpaceX was getting ready to launch another Falcon 9 carrying a Cargo Dragon for a space station resupply mission, which was set to take off on Thursday at 8:28 p.m. EST (0128 UTC), just as the Starlink mission was getting ready to take off.

Another Falcon 9 was being readied for a Thursday launch of the Transporter 9 mission at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, but that date has been delayed two days to November 11. It will be on a ride-sharing mission with many tiny satellites.

Tail number B1073, the Falcon 9 booster scheduled for Tuesday’s Starlink 6-27 mission, is flying for the eleventh time. It began operations in May 2022, bringing with it a consignment of 53 V1.5 Starlink satellites. It launched the SES-22 satellite, ispace’s HAKUTO-R lunar lander, and the Hispasat Amazonas Nexus satellite in addition to performing five more Starlink deliveries. On the CRS-27 Cargo Dragon trip, it assisted in delivering supplies to the International Space Station.

The Falcon 9 will launch from Florida’s Space Coast and travel southeast, with the goal of entering an orbit that is 43 degrees equatorial. The first stage will split from the second stage and continue downrange to land on the drone ship “Just Read the Instructions” in the Atlantic Ocean, approximately 424 miles (682 km) from the launch site, after firing its nine Merlin 1D engines for nearly two and a half minutes.

A bit more downrange from the drone ship, the rocket’s payload fairing halves will splash down on a parachute and be retrieved by the support ship “Bob,” which is named for Crew Dragon Demo-2 astronaut Bob Behnken. A picture of a payload fairing half that had completed 13 flights and was being recovered from the ocean after the most recent Starlink launch was just made public by SpaceX.

To attain a parking orbit, the second stage’s single vacuum Merlin engine will fire for almost six minutes when it is located high above. The second-stage engine will restart for a three-second burn to fine-tune the orbit after coasting for roughly forty-five minutes. An hour and five minutes following launch, the 23 V2 Mini Starlink satellites will begin to deploy. According to SpaceX, more than two million people use its Starlink internet service globally.