A few days after NASA’s failed attempt to launch Artemis-1 lunar mission, Elon Musk’s private space agency SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket at around 6.30 am on September 11 (IST). It was the 14th record-tying mission for the company’s first stage. The rocket was positioned near NASA’s problematic spaceplane, the spacecraft known as the “Artemis 1.” Thirty-four Starlink satellites were launched into orbit. Another launch is scheduled for Sunday.
The rocket, which was carrying a communications test satellite, was placed into low-Earth orbit after it separated from the Starlink satellites. It was SpaceX’s 60th launch for the company and the 40th orbital mission carried out in 2022. Starlink is a constellation of satellites that provide internet access to 40 countries. Elon Musk, the company’s CEO, has said that he aims to establish global coverage using satellites after 2023.
In August, Musk announced that he had partnered with T-Mobile to provide 4G connectivity to smartphones using the Starlink satellites. In 2019, SpaceX started launching the Starlink satellites. During Saturday’s launch, the rocket’s first stage landed on a platform in the Atlantic Ocean for rocket landings at sea, called A Shortfall to Gravitas. . This was SpaceX’s 179th launch.
Prior to the launch of the satellites, the first stage of the rocket was used to support eight Starlink missions. Four additional satellites, namely the ANASIS-II, Transporter 1, and Transporter 3, were also able to launch using the same rocket engine. The blast-off was delayed by around 10 minutes due to unfavorable weather conditions in Florida.
The first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket was originally used to launch eight satellites for Starlink missions. Four additional satellites, namely the ANASIS-II, Transporter 1, and Transporter 3, were also able to launch using the same rocket engine. However, unfavorable weather conditions in Florida prevented the blast-off from happening.
Despite the delay, SpaceX’s launch was still able to proceed. NASA, on the other hand, was still experiencing issues with its own rocket, which was the “Artemis 1.” This week, it was revealed that the space agency was replacing the seals on its moon rocket. This could delay the mission’s entry into orbit by about six weeks.
The mission also marked the 14th time that SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket has been launched. This particular rocket was used to launch eight different missions, including the satellites for the South Korean military’s ANASIS-II mission in July 2020. It was also used to launch the Transporter 1 and Transporter 3 rideshare missions in January 2021 and January 2022 apart from crewed De,o-2 mission
Following the successful launch of the Demo-2 mission, which was SpaceX’s first crewed mission, NASA renewed its contract with the company for five additional missions to the International Space Station. The contract, which is worth over $1.4 billion, will allow SpaceX to transport astronauts to the space station through 2030.
The company’s next mission, Crew05 which is scheduled for October, is followed by another mission Crew-6 which will be launched in the following year. In April, SpaceX successfully launched the Crew-4 mission to the space station. Six months through in October, the astronauts will be returning to Earth and leaving the orbital outpost for the next crewed mission.