SpaceX Falcon 9 puts 53 Starlink (Group 4-14) satellites into orbit as reusable first stage makes 12th flight

by | Apr 22, 2022 | Launches, Satellites, Seradata News, SpaceX

After a two and half hour delay due to high ground winds, SpaceX successfully launched a Falcon 9v1.2FT Block 5 rocket from Cape Canaveral, USA at 1751 GMT on 21 April 2022. The vehicle was carrying 53 Starlink satellites (Group 4-14) for the Starlink low Earth orbit communications constellation. The reusable B1060 first stage – on its 12th flight – successfully landed on the drone barge, “Just Read the Instructions”, which was stationed downrange in the Atlantic Ocean. So far two of the reusable rocket stages have achieved 12 launches and landings.

Comment by David Todd: Most rocket scientists and analysts, especially those working for competitors of SpaceX, were sceptical that reusability would prove economically feasible, mainly because it was generally reckoned that 10 reusable flights combined with a high launch rate, was estimated to be the measures of whether reusability would work. They will thus be impressed that SpaceX’s first stages are now achieving 12 flights and that it is operating launches every week. And so SpaceX’s slow-out-of-the-blocks competitors – whether national competitors such as China or commercial ones like Arianespace – are now doing their very best to catch up. On this, at least, Elon Musk was right and they were wrong.

Falcon 9 launch of 53 Starlink satellites on 21 April 2022. Courtesy: SpaceX

 

 

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