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SpaceX tops 4,000 orbiting satellites

May 5, 2023

By Chris Forrester

The May 4th launch of 56 Starlink satellites for SpaceX represented a key milestone for Elon Musk’s broadband by satellite project and its Falcon-9 rocket.

With these satellites moving towards their orbital responsibilities, SpaceX surpasses 4,000 satellites in orbit and will have launched 4,340 total satellites according to data from astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell at the Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. He says SpaceX currently has more than 3,900 functioning Starlink satellites in space, with around 3,400 operational and more than 400 moving into their operational orbits.

This particular batch (Mission Group 5-6) were Version 1.5 craft (Starlink V2 Mini) and went into an initial orbit of 298 by 340 km inclined at 43.00 degrees. Following deployment, the satellites will steadily raise their orbits into a Starlink second-generation orbit: a 530 km circular orbit at 43 degrees.

The launch was SpaceX’s second to have taken place in May, but there’s much more to come. If all goes to SpaceX’s plan, this will be the rocket company’s busiest-ever month with up to 10 scheduled launches. In support of this, there are back-to-back Starlink missions on May 8th from both coasts, followed later in the month by Arabsat 7B, Iridium-9, and other Starlink launches.

Categories: Articles, Broadband, Satellite

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