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Fri, Nov 10, 2023

SpaceX Nails 80th Mission This Year

Starlink Constellation Swells to 5,000 Satellites in Burgeoning Global Network

A Falcon 9 rocket tendered 23 more Starlink satellites to the cold of space after a successful launch from Cape Canaveral just past midnight on November 8th.

The launch was the 11th for the particular rocket used, or at least the 1st stage. The equipment had previously launched a bevy of client packages, including “SES-22, ispace’s HAKUTO-R Mission 1, Hispasat Amazonas Nexus mission, and CRS-27”. Now, with the most recent mission completed, the rocket has successfully delivered 7 Starlink payloads too. Overall, the launch makes for the 80th for SpaceX in 2023, with more than 1,000 metric tons delivered into orbit.

The newest generation of Starlink satellites may be credited with the network’s growth this year, only months after their initial debut. The V2 Mini boasts 4 times the capacity for client service against the V1 satellite despite its smaller, lighter footprint. The size difference allowed for a higher launch tempo using the more modest Falcon rocket, allowing the constellation to boom to somewhere north of 5,000 satellites according to amateur skywatchers. A larger, ‘standard’ V2 requires the stout Starship launch vehicle to be placed into service - and Starship’s dance card is pretty full already. The network has continued to grow with impressive consistency, with a 93% success rate in getting platforms into orbit and in service. Starlink has been forthright about its end-of-life plans for each unit, too, with built-in post-mission disposal for satellites leaving service.

FMI: www.starlink.com

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