Photo: SpaceX launched a new batch of Starlink satellites into orbit (space.com) Author: Valeria Polishchuk
The Falcon 9 launch vehicle launched another batch of 23 mini-satellites into orbit to replenish the orbital constellation of the global Internet coverage network of the Starlink system.
This was reported by RBC-Ukraine with reference to the SpaceX press service.
This was the 19th launch of the Falcon 9 first stage, and the company set a new reusability benchmark.
As planned, Falcon 9's first stage returned to Earth for the 19th time, landing about 8.5 minutes after launch on an unmanned craft in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida.
The Falcon 9 upper stage, meanwhile, continued to deliver 23 Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit. The spacecraft were supposed to be launched there approximately 65.5 minutes after launch.
SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk wants to help humanity colonize Mars and accomplish many other ambitious exploration feats. Rocket reusability is a key part of this vision, helping to reduce the cost of space missions and increase their frequency.
Therefore, SpaceX's reuse records are short-lived. The previous mark – 18 flights for the Falcon 9 launch vehicle – was set only last month.
So far, SpaceX has completed more than 90 orbital flights in 2023. Much of this has focused on building the Starlink broadband megaconstellation, which currently consists of nearly 5,200 operational satellites.
Starlink is used by the Ukrainian military
CNN recently published an excerpt from a book about Elon Musk, which talked about the disruption of the Ukrainian attack on the Russian fleet. The founder of SpaceX said that he allegedly secretly ordered Starlink to be turned off over Crimea in order to prevent a strike on Russian ships that Ukraine was trying to inflict using drones.
As detailed in the book, he feared that such actions would lead to the use of nuclear weapons. Musk later defended himself for his actions.
The head of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense, Kirill Budanov, confirmed that Starlink did not work near Crimea for some time. But he doubts that Elon Musk is directly involved in this.
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