SpaceX adds 54 Starlinks; breaks records
December 19, 2022
By Chris Forrester
SpaceX placed 54 of its Starlink broadband satellites into orbit on December 17th, and in the process extended its reliability record.
The record-breaking flight used the Falcon 9’s booster for the 15th time, the most-ever. The cost-saving benefits of re-using the Falcon 9’s booster is significant. SpaceX charges around $65 million (€61.2m) for a commercial launch.
The booster landed successfully on the floating barge some 9 minutes later. It was the overall 192nd launch of a Falcon 9 rocket, and the 68th launch of a batch of Starlink satellites. This particular booster has lifted 777 Starlinks into orbit.
Astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell says that this batch takes the Starlink operational fleet in space to 3,230 out of 3,612 actually launched. Some 200 are still moving to their correct orbital positions.
SpaceX needs 4,400 satellites of these Gen-1 versions to complete its initial fleet needs, However, the FCC recently approved SpaceX’s request to launch 7,500 Gen-2 satellites which will be needed to supply extra broadband capacity.