SpaceX rocket successfully takes 56 Starlink satellites to orbit

30 Mar 2023

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launching from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. Image: SpaceX

The Falcon 9 rocket successfully released all of the Starlink satellites and landed back to Earth, marking SpaceX’s 21st launch this year.

SpaceX has managed to launch a large batch of satellites into orbit, boosting its Starlink satellite internet service.

The space company launched a Falcon 9 rocket containing 56 Starlink satellites from the US Cape Canaveral Space Force Station yesterday (29 March).

SpaceX shared a video of the launch and confirmed that the rocket successfully deployed all 56 of these satellites.

The first stage component of the rocket then landed on the droneship called Just Read the Instructions. The company said this was the fourth launch and landing for the Falcon 9 first stage booster.

SpaceX has completed 21 launches in 2023. On 2 March, NASA and SpaceX confirmed the Crew-6 mission successfully reached orbit, carrying four astronauts to the International Space Station.

The Crew-6 mission was originally scheduled for 27 February but had to be called off two minutes before the launch due to a ground systems issue relating to ignition.

SpaceX has another rocket flight scheduled for today (30 March), which will see a Falcon 9 rocket bring vehicles from the US Space Development Agency (SDA) into orbit.

The company said these vehicles will serve a part of the SDA’s Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture, which is a layered network of satellites and supporting elements to provide “global military communication and missile warning, indication and tracking capabilities”.

The latest mission will be a boon for the company’s Starlink service, which recently launched a global roaming package for customers travelling to locations where connectivity has been “unreliable or completely unavailable”.

Starlink got approval in the US to provide its satellite internet to vehicles in motion last summer. This included cars, trucks, boats and even aircraft. Later that year, SpaceX said it will roll out Starlink services to the aviation industry, including private jets.

An AP report this month suggests that the Starlink internet service is being used by illegal miners in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest for coordinating logistics, alerting each other before police raids and making payments remotely.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic