SpaceX launches Starlink satellites on ‘American broomstick’ and lands rocket at sea

SpaceX successfully launched a new batch of Starlink internet satellites on Wednesday, March 9, marking the company’s 10th launch in as many weeks.

One step in two steps Falcon 9 rocket launched 48 Stellar Link satellites in orbit from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 8:45 a.m. EST (1545 GMT). The rocket’s first stage then returned to Earth for a soft landing at sea on the SpaceX droneship A lack of gravity.

“It’s time to let the American broom fly and hear the sounds of freedom,” SpaceX’s launch director said just before launch. The call was an apparent response to Russian space agency chief Dmitry Rogozin, who said “let them fly on something else, their broomsticks” last week after Russia has suspended sales of its rocket engines to U.S. launch vendors under economic sanctions following that country’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine.

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SpaceX’s Starlink megaconstellation launches in photos

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A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying 48 Starlink internet satellites launches from SLC-40 at Cape Canaveral Space Base in Florida on March 9, 2022.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying 48 Starlink internet satellites launches from SLC-40 at Cape Canaveral Space Base in Florida on March 9, 2022. (Image credit: SpaceX)
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A view of the 48 Starlink internet satellites in stacked formation launched by SpaceX on a Falcon 9 rocket on March 9, 2022.

A view of the 48 Starlink internet satellites in stacked formation launched by SpaceX on a Falcon 9 rocket on March 9, 2022. (Image credit: SpaceX)
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A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying 48 Starlink internet satellites launches from SLC-40 at the Cape Canaveral space base in Florida on March 9, 2022

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying 48 Starlink internet satellites launches from SLC-40 at the Cape Canaveral space base in Florida on March 9, 2022 (Image credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk delved into Rogozin’s comments, calling the Falcon 9 – SpaceX’s reusable fleet work vehicle – a reliable “American broom” in a Twitter post Last week. SpaceX also has supplied Starlink terminals to Ukraine to help restore communications and Internet service across the country and is focus on cybersecurity to avoid jamming of these terminals.

“48 other Starlinks have just reached orbit”, Musk wrote on Twitter Wednesday after the successful launch.

Starlink is the giant constellation of broadband satellites that SpaceX is assembling in low Earth orbit. The company has already launched over 2,000 Starlink ships since 2019, with many more to launch in the relatively near future.

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A SpaceX Falcon 9 first stage stands on the A Shortfall Of Gravitas droneship after a successful fourth landing following the launch of the Starlink 4-10 mission with 48 satellites on March 9, 2022.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 first stage stands on the A Shortfall Of Gravitas droneship after a successful fourth landing following the launch of the Starlink 4-10 mission with 48 satellites on March 9, 2022. (Image credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX has permission to launch 12,000 Starlink satellites and has sought approval for up to 30,000 more. Wednesday’s Starlink mission, called Starlink 4-10, marked the megaconstellation’s 41st flight.

Last month, SpaceX lost nearly an entire batch of Starlink satellites to a solar storm that knocked dozens of Starlinks out of space and burned into earth’s atmosphere days after launch. SpaceX has since increased its initial deployment altitude to prevent similar incidents from happening again.

Wednesday’s launch marked the fourth flight and landing of its particular Falcon 9 first stage, SpaceX said. The recall also initiated the Arabsat-6A in April 2019, the Space Test Program-2 (STP-2) flight for the US military in June 2019, and the second-generation Italian COSMO-SkyMed FM2 Earth observation satellite in January.

The first two missions on this list – Arabsat-6A and STP-2 – were piloted by the huge SpaceX Heavy Falcon rocket, which consists of three Falcon 9 cores strapped together, the center one surmounted by a second stage. COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation FM2 was piloted by a Falcon 9.

Mike Wall is the author of “The low(Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for extraterrestrial life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on twitter @Spacedotcom Or on Facebook.

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