SpaceX successfully launches a new set of Starlink satellites into orbit. The mission came as the company lost 38 of its 49 launch satellites to a gravitational storm last month.
SpaceX today confirmed in a tweet that 46 new Starlink satellites aboard the Falcon 9 rocket were launched from the ground. About nine minutes after the launch of the first stage, the Falcon 9 returned to the atmosphere and landed on the company’s landing pad in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida.
The launch was originally scheduled for Sunday morning, but was delayed by one day due to unfavorable weather conditions around the landing platform. But conditions were ready on Monday for a new set of Starlink satellites to be launched into orbit.
Yesterday’s mission was Starlink’s fourth major satellite mission in 2022. The first two SpaceX missions took place in January and the third in February. The third mission also had technical problems due to solar storms, and eventually a number of satellites were lost and burned up in the Earth’s atmosphere.
SpaceX has so far sent more than 2,100 satellites into orbit, but more than 200 satellites have fallen into the atmosphere or failed. Of course, from Mask’s point of view, the process of sending satellites is just the beginning, because the company has been licensed to launch another 12,000 satellites and is looking to launch another 30,000 satellites in the near future.
The program comes as experts worry that NASA warned a few weeks ago that second-generation Starlink satellites could increase the risk of collisions with orbiting objects. The US space agency is currently monitoring about 25,000 orbital objects, including the Hubble Space Telescope, the International Space Station and thousands of other satellites.