SpaceX launches 46 Starlink satellites into low-Earth orbit
A Falcon 9 rocket was launched Friday afternoon from Vandenberg Space Force Base, prompting the first round of cheering and applause from the control room.
More reasons to cheer would come minutes later.
The rocket brought 46 Starlink satellites to low-Earth orbit from Vandenberg’s Space Launch Complex 4 East.
The launch, which took place during good weather, marked the 56th Starlink mission and SpaceX’s 36th launch in 2022.
At just under one minute into the launch, the Falcon 9 exceeded the speed of sound.
At approximately 1 minute, 15 seconds into the launch, the Falcon reached MAXQ (the maximum dynamic pressure it will feel during flight). At approximately 2 minutes in, the Falcon was soaring at almost 5,000 kilometers per hour.
MECO (main engine cut off) occurred at approximately 2 minutes, 30 seconds into the launch. At approximately 2 minutes, 40 seconds, stage separation was confirmed, and again there was cheering and applause from the control room.
At approximately 2 minutes, 50 seconds in, the second engine startup or (merlin vacuum engine startup) occurred.
At approximately five minutes in, the reusable, first stage was coasting back to Earth, with the second stage accelerating under power of the merlin vacuum engine.
The rocket’s reusable first stage has previously launched 10 times with “quite a repertoire of launches under its belt,” according to the announcer.
At approximately 6 minutes, 30 seconds, the start of the first stage entry burn began. This was approximately a 20-second burn, where three engine burn slows the first stage down as it enters the upper parts of earth’s atmosphere.
The speed of the first stage decreased significantly as it entered the earth’s atmosphere. At approximately eight minutes in, the first stage’s speed reached speeds near or below speed of sound.
The first stage landed on a drone ship, and that was at 8 minutes, 30 seconds after the launch — to more cheers and applause.
“That was an amazing view of the first stage landing, thanks to our Starlink satellites,” said the announcer.
It was the 57th first stage landing on the ship Of Course I Still Love You and the 56th overall Starlink mission landing.