SpaceX today launched yet another batch of its high-speed internet providing Starlink satellites. This was the 10th batch launched by the Elon-Musk led space company and consisted of 57 satellites. Along with the satellites, SpaceX also launched 2 satellites from BlackSky, a Spaceflight customer.
This was SpaceX’s third attempt at launching the 10th batch of Starlink satellites after the first two were aborted. The company had previously attempted a launch in June and then in July. Nevertheless, those two months have been nothing short of eventful for the company, as it launched a GPS satellite along with getting Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley back to earth aboard the Crew Dragon.
The Falcon 9 first stage being used in this launch will go into service the 5th time. It previously supported Crew Dragon’s first demonstration mission to the International Space Station, launch of the RADARSAT Constellation Mission, and the fourth and seventh Starlink missions. Following stage separation, SpaceX successfully landed Falcon 9’s first stage on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship, stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. This will make it ready for its sixth re-use in a mission soon.
The Starlink batch launched today was deployed in a circular orbit, similar to how the first four starlink missions were deployed. Additionally, all Starlink satellites on this flight are equipped with a deployable visor to block sunlight from hitting the brightest spots of the spacecraft. This was done to ensure reduced visibility and hindrance of the constellation during earth based astronomical observations.