Starlink Mission
SES-18 and SES-19 Mission

SpaceX’s Starlink mission will loft 52 satellites to add to the company’s internet megaconstellation, with the total number of Starlinks in orbit currently at 3,751, according to stats collected by astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell. SpaceX has already launched eight Starlink missions so far this year, one of which delivered miniature versions of SpaceX’s next generation satellites (V2 Minis) that are designed to be bigger and more efficient than the first generation units.


Friday’s second launch of the day will carry SES-18 and SES-19, two telecommunications satellites built by Northrop Grumman and operated by a company in Luxembourg. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will deploy the satellites to a geosynchronous transfer orbit, a trajectory to get the satellites from one orbit to another. SpaceX last performed back-to-back launches on February 17.

Falcon 9, SpaceX’s medium launch vehicle, is partially reusable. The rocket’s first stage booster, powered by nine Merlin engines, lands vertically on a landing pad or droneship shortly after liftoff while the second stage delivers the payload. SpaceX has been relying heavily on its workhorse rocket, but the company is really eager to see its super heavy-lift launch vehicle Starship reach orbit. Powered by 33 Raptor 2 engines, Starship is built to carry heavier loads to space, and will be able to deliver SpaceX’s full-sized next-generation satellites.


Whether or not Starship will soon fly, SpaceX is gearing up for an action packed year as CEO Elon Musk is aiming for 100 launches in 2023. The company pulled off a whopping 60 launches in 2022, we’ll see if SpaceX has got what it takes this year to meet its new goal.

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