Advanced Television

SpaceX: Over 6,000 satellites launched

March 19, 2024

By Chris Forrester

Data from astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell shows that 6,011 SpaceX ‘Starlink’ broadband satellites have been launched as at March 16th. He adds that 5,614 are still in orbit, of which 64 appear failed and 122 appear to be in the process of deliberate retirement.

SpaceX launched this latest batch of 23 satellites into orbit on March 15th from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.

It was the 19th liftoff for this Falcon 9’s booster first stage, according to a SpaceX mission description. That tied an achievement set this past December and matched for the first time last month.

The launch also raised the number of Starlink satellites launched into space to more than 6,000 since SpaceX began deploying the constellation in 2019.

To plan, the Falcon 9’s first stage came back to Earth about 8.5 minutes after liftoff, landing on the droneship “A Shortfall of Gravitas,” which was stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

Extensive rocket reuse is a key priority for SpaceX and its founder and CEO, Elon Musk. Indeed, the company’s next-generation vehicle, called Starship, is designed to be fully and rapidly reusable, a breakthrough that Musk thinks will make Mars settlement economically feasible.

SpaceX has also applied to the FCC for its Starship #4 flight. The experimental communications licence begins on April 15th.

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