SpaceX aces 2 orbital missions about 4 hours apart

by IANS |

San Francisco, March 18 (IANS) Elon Musk's SpaceX has successfully pulled off two orbital missions in about four hours, the company said.

A group of 52 of Starlink internet satellites were launched to orbit at 3.26 p.m. EDT (12.56 a.m. IST), from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.

Then, at 7.38 p.m. EDT (5.08 a.m. IST), a Falcon 9 carrying the SES-18 and SES-19 telecommunications satellites lifted off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

"Congrats to the SpaceX team on launching two Falcon 9 missions about 4 hours apart today, completing our 18th and 19th missions of 2023 so far," the mission officials wrote on Twitter.

Both missions were successful. The Starlink satellites were deployed in low Earth orbit (LEO) on schedule, and the Falcon 9 successfully delivered SES-18 and SES-19 to geosynchronous transfer orbit.

It was the eighth liftoff and touchdown for the Starlink-launching Falcon 9 and the sixth for the rocket that lofted SES-18 and SES-19, according to SpaceX.

The 52 Starlink satellites are joining more than 3,700 other spacecraft in SpaceX's huge broadband constellation, which will continue to grow far into the future. Elon Musk's company has approval to deploy 12,000 Starlink satellites in LEO, and it has applied for permission to loft 30,000 more on top of that, Space.com reported.

SES-18 and SES-19 are headed for geostationary orbit, about 35,700 kilometres above Earth. They aim to provide digital broadcasting coverage to North America, according to EverydayAstronaut.com

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