Third Falcon 9 launch in four days – this one carrying 49 Starlink satellites to orbit…but then a solar storm hits (Updated)

by | Feb 4, 2022 | Launches, Satellites, Seradata News, SpaceX

A Falcon 9v1.2FT Block 5 rocket launched 49 satellites to their orbit m SpaceX’s leased launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida. Lift off of the flight Starlink Group 4-7 was at 1813 GMT on 3 February 2022.  The satellites were injected into a low Earth orbit. Approximately 8 minutes after launch the vehicle first stage, B1061, on its sixth flight, successfully landed on the drone barge “A Shortfall Of Gravitas” stationed downrange in the Atlantic Ocean near the Bahamas.  The trajectory was a southerly one involving a dog leg manoeuvre to miss the Bahamas.

All did not go well for the satellites on this launch. It has been reported by SpaceX that 40 of the 49 satellites on board this flight have failed due to a solar storm the following day after launch.

Falcon 9 upper stage Merlin engine makes its burn to inject 49 Starlink satellites into orbit on 3 February 2022. Courtesy: SpaceX

The launch was the third Falcon 9 launch in four days. The flights began with the launch of COSMO-Skymed Second Generation-2 on 31 January from Cape Canaveral, followed by the Vandenberg launch of NRO L-87 on 2 February.

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