[Update: Launch Video] SpaceX to send up 23rd batch of Starlink internet satellites

After a week-long hiatus of launches, SpaceX is planning to launch another batch of 60 satellites for their Starlink internet constellation. This will use up to 12,000 satellites to provide high-speed internet service around the globe with zero interruption. If launched by the end of the month, this will tie SpaceX’s record of 4 launches in a single calendar month.

Date: Wednesday, March 24th, 4:28 AM EDT

Rocket: SpaceX’s Falcon 9 (B1060.6)

Payload: 60 Starlink Satellites

Launch Pad: SLC-40, Cape Canaveral Space Force Station

Landing Site: Of Course I Still Love You, Atlantic Ocean

The Rocket

Like all Starlink missions so far, Starlink L23 will launch on top of a Falcon 9 rocket powered by 9 Merlin engines on the first stage and a single vacuum optimized Merlin on the second stage. The workhorse for SpaceX since its first launch in 2010 it has launched 111 missions with a 98% success rate.

The Booster

B1060 has launched a total of 4 times before this flight with its first being GPS III SV03 back in June of 2020. The majority of its flights have been serving to launch more of SpaceX’s Starlink satellites but also flew Turksat-5A, which was the first SpaceX mission of 2021. This flight will be this boosters 3rd flight of this year with a turnaround time of 48 days since its previous flight in February.

The Weather

The current weather report from the 45th Space Wing shows a small chance of weather-related issues for tomorrow’s early morning launch. The probability of weather being GO for launch is still at 90% with the main concern being cumulus clouds. For the 24-hour delay weather, it still looks to be deteriorating. The air around the spaceport will collect more moisture and winds will increase causing more clouds to form in the area. This will bring the probability of GO down to 80% with the concern being thick clouds over the launch site.

Terminal count updates

Wednesday, March 24th, 3:58 AM: T-30 minutes and fueling has begun on the rocket.

Photo taken by An Tran for Space Explored

Wednesday, March 24th, 4:28 AM: Lift of SpaceX’s 4th Falcon 9 flight of March, tying for the companies most launches in a single calendar month. It launches 60 more Starlink satellites with now a total of over 1,300 in orbit.

Wednesday, March 24th, 4:37 AM: Falcon 9 first stage B1060 landing confirmed on Of Course I Still Love You for the 6th time.

Credit: SpaceX

Wednesday, March 24th, 5:34 AM: Deployment of SpaceX’s 60 Starlink satellites into their initial orbit. Over the coming weeks, these satellites will raise their orbits using their onboard ion thrusters.

Credit: SpaceX


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