SpaceX to launch Starlink satellites on Falcon 9 flight from Vandenberg Space Force Base – Spaceflight Now


A stack of SpaceX Starlink satellites, which included the first six featuring Direct to Cell capabilities. The batch launched on the Starlink 7-9 mission, which lifted off from Vandenberg Space Force Base on Jan. 2, 2024. Image: SpaceX

SpaceX continues to expand its Starlink constellation that offer Direct to Cell capability through its upcoming launch. There will be 13 DTC satellites among the 20 set to launch from Vandenberg Space Force Base on Tuesday, May 14. 

Liftoff from Space Launch Complex 4 East (SLC-4E) is set for 9:29 a.m. PDT (12:29 p.m. EDT, 1629 UTC). This will be 16th launch from VSFB this year, more than half of the total number of launches from Vandenberg in 2023.

Spaceflight Now will have live coverage beginning about 30 minutes prior to liftoff.

The first stage booster supporting this mission, tail number B1063 in the SpaceX fleet, will be launching for an 18th time. It previously launched NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft, the Transporter-7 rideshare and 12 Starlink missions among others.

About 8.5 minutes after liftoff, B1063 will touchdown on the SpaceX droneship ‘Of Course I Still Love You.’ This will be the 90th booster landing for OCISLY and the 308th Falcon landing to date.

Following the most recent Starlink mission, which launched on Sunday, SpaceX noted that the Starlink constellation fared well amid high solar activity that came as a result of the geomagnetic storm.

Michael Nicolls, the vice president of Starlink engineering, went into a bit more detail about what the constellation weathered over the weekend in a social media post.

Tuesday’s launch will be the 35th dedicated Starlink launch in 2024. Prior to the launch of the Starlink 8-7 mission, SpaceX launched 768 Starlink satellites this year.

According to the most recent numbers published by expert orbital tracker and astronomer Jonathan McDowell on Sunday, there were 5,923 Starlink satellites in operation on orbit.

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