A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket took the scenic route, orbiting 46 Starlink satellites on Friday, July 22.
Although it was a gray day at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, the Falcon 9 rocket quickly soared above the clouds, where tracking camera footage from the launch captured an unobstructed view of the rocket appearing to jump overhead. above the moon.
Minutes later, the satellites were on their way to orbit aboard the rocket’s second stage as the first stage gently touched down on the SpaceX “Of course I still love you” drone parked in the Pacific Ocean, marking another successful launch for the company.
Related: SpaceX’s Starlink satellite megaconstellation launches in photos
The launch was July’s fifth Starlink mission alone and the company’s 32nd launch of the year, officially breaking its 2021 record of 31 launches.
It probably won’t be long before the company chooses another one: according to Spaceflight Now (opens in a new tab), SpaceX is targeting another Starlink launch for Sunday, July 24, this time from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. SpaceX has yet to confirm the launch attempt.
Starlink is the company’s Internet megaconstellation, for which it has launched more than 2,800 satellites; the network already provides services but is designed to include at least 12,000 satellites.
According to TimeAndDate.com (opens in a new tab), the moon rose Friday over San Luis Obispo, Calif., about 80 kilometers north of the launch site, at 1:19 a.m. local time and set at 3:36 p.m. local time; the rocket launched at 10:39 a.m. local time.
The moon is currently 22.5% illuminated as seen from Earth, according to the website, and has about a week passed its full phase, thinning to a new moon which it will reach on Thursday (July 28).