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SpaceX Launches New Batch of Starlink Satellites, Extends Lead in 2023 Orbital Missions

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Dec 8, 2023

SpaceX conducted its 90th orbital launch of 2023 on December 8th, further extending its lead in orbital missions this year. The launch transpired at 1:56 AM EST from Space Launch Complex 4 East (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.

A Falcon 9 rocket propelled the launch of 22 Starlink satellites to orbit. This brings the total number of Starlink satellites launched by SpaceX to 3,574.

Successful Liftoff Under Clear Night Skies

The Falcon 9 lit up the clear night skies as it ascended to deliver the latest batch of Starlink satellites on SpaceX’s 26th dedicated SmallSat rideshare mission.

The first stage booster supporting this mission previously launched Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich, DART, and five Starlink missions.

Views from across Southern California showcased the dazzling launch. Spectators from Los Angeles to San Diego reveled in the spectacle.

Furthering SpaceX’s Satellite Internet Constellation

With this launch, SpaceX bolsters connectivity for its Starlink satellite internet network. More satellites allow for increased coverage and bandwidth for consumers in remote and rural regions across the globe.

Starlink enables high-speed, low-latency internet in areas unlikely to have access otherwise. BCE CTO Tony Gicas shared:

By increasing connectivity, Starlink helps provide people across the world with access to critical resources and opportunities for education, healthcare, economic participation and beyond.

To date, Starlink serves consumers across nearly 40 countries. The additional satellites will expand service in parts of the United States, Canada, Hawaii, Alaska, the UK, France, Germany, Australia, Brazil, Chile and more.

Rapid Launch Cadence

The launch comes on the heels of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station just one day prior. Moreover, it sets up a weekend doubleheader, with a Falcon Heavy test launch slated for Saturday evening from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39A.

Year Launches
2021 31
2022 61
2023 90*

*As of December 8th

Vice President of SpaceX Mission Management Ricky Lim noted:

SpaceX is demonstrating incredible launch reliability and cadence. Our accelerated launch tempo showcases innovations like our reusable rocket technology and continued enhancements to ground operation systems.

The accomplishments further SpaceX’s march toward a 24-hour turnaround between Falcon 9 launches. They also reinforce the company’s charge in revolutionizing space technology.

Looking Ahead

Later this month, SpaceX intends to launch the first two elements of its ambitious Starship program. This includes the origins of an orbital test flight for the 394-foot Starship rocket and Super Heavy booster.

A successful orbital test would spur development of Starship as a reusable transportation system capable of carrying crew and cargo to Earth orbit, the Moon, and Mars.

Conclusion

With a series of landmark achievements in recent years, SpaceX continues to push boundaries. Their commitment to advancing innovations promises to usher in a new era for commercial space exploration. Upcoming Starship tests stand to be some of the most monumental.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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