SpaceX successfully adds 46 Starlinks to fleet
February 22, 2022
By Chris Forrester
SpaceX launched its seventh mission in a little more than seven weeks on February 21st, with flawless lift-off of a Falcon 9 rocket at 14.44 GMT from pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
SpaceX has two more Falcon 9 rockets scheduled to blast off in the next 10 days from different launch pads in Florida and California.
The cargo was 46 Starlink satellites. A slightly lower number than its usual 49 or so and evidently allowing the rocket to reach a higher orbit and avoid the problems of geomagnetic storms which cost SpaceX 40 lost satellites out of 49 carried earlier in February.
The booster (designated B1058 in SpaceX’s inventory of reusable Falcon rocket stages) was making its 11th flight Monday, following its May 30th 2020 debut.
SpaceX has launched 2,137 Starlink spacecraft since 2018, including prototypes. More than 200 of the satellites have fallen out of orbit after failure or decommissioning, according to a study maintained by Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist and expert tracker of spaceflight activity. McDowell says that some 1500 are working properly while others are having their orbits raised to their operational heights.
SpaceX has two other imminent Starlink missions in the next ten days: one will lift-off from California on February 25th and the other from Florida on March 3rd subject to the usual weather considerations.