Billionaire tycoon Elon Musk-led SpaceX launched a new batch of Starlink satellites into orbit on Friday. Musk, the founder of US spacecraft manufacturer and satellite communications company SpaceX on his official Twitter account shared the details about the new satellite launch.
According to SpaceX reports, Falcon 9 launched 46 Starlink satellites to low Earth orbit from Space Launch Complex 4 East (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Space Force Base, California.
Nine minutes after launch, the rocket landed for the first time over a drone ship in the Pacific Ocean and was launched in a short time. The second phase was expected to deploy the satellites 63 minutes after launch after the live stream ended.
The new satellites are part of Group 3, which, according to the SpaceNews report, orbits in an enclosure potentially susceptible to debris “squalls” from a Russian anti-satellite test that took place last November.
A space-tracking company COMSPOC recently revealed a conjunction event, in which the 841 Starlink satellites that make up about 30 percent of the SpaceX constellation are affected by 6,000 close approaches.
A conjunction is defined by COMSPOC standards as two orbiting objects within 10 kilometers of each other. SpaceX has not stated whether any Starlinks have been affected, but in previous discussions about space debris, the company has emphasized that its satellites can maneuver to evade nearby approaching spacecraft or debris.
COMSPOC stated in a report that Group 3 of Starlink’s five-layer spacecraft is in a similar orbit to other sun-synchronous satellites that have come close to the Russian AST debris before.
Group 3 is on an incline of 97.6 degrees and at an elevation of 347 miles (560 kilometers), according to Teslarati.
SpaceX has already sent two other Group 3 collections into orbit on July 10 and 22, both from Vandenberg.
SpaceX’s 36th launch in 2022 added to the ever-growing record for launches in a year. The company also completed its 62nd consecutive first stage landing and 34th booster flight in 2022.
Friday’s flight was the 10th for this particular first Falcon 9 stage, reports say it was a SpaceX mission.