After a weekend setback with the explosion of its latest Starship test launch, Hawthorne-based SpaceX got back into the win column by launching 22 Starlink satellites into orbit early Monday morning.
“Deployment of 22 @Starlink satellites confirmed,” the rocketbuilder declared on X, formerly Twitter, at 2:30 a.m.
This launch, from Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc, is the company’s 55th Starlink mission of the year, officials said. The scheduled launch was delayed on Saturday and then again on Sunday, but finally took off Monday. The reasons for the delays were not released.
Twenty-two V2 Mini Starlink satellites were deployed about an hour after the liftoff. SpaceX has set into orbit thousands of similar satellites in recent years, which enhance worldwide internet communication.
On Saturday, SpaceX launched its mega rocket Starship but lost both the booster and the spacecraft in a pair of explosions minutes into the test flight.
The rocketship reached space following liftoff from South Texas before communication suddenly was lost. SpaceX officials said it appears the ship’s self-destruct system blew it up over the Gulf of Mexico.
Saturday’s demo lasted eight or so minutes, about twice as long as the first test in April, which also ended in an explosion. The latest flight came to an end as the ship’s six engines were almost done firing to put it on an around-the-world path.
After Saturday’s launch, the FAA said no injuries or public damage had been reported and that an investigation was underway to determine what went wrong. SpaceX cannot launch another Starship until the review is complete and corrections made, the FAA added.
NASA is counting on Starship to land astronauts on the moon by the end of 2025 or shortly thereafter. The space agency awarded SpaceX a $3 billion contract to make it happen, by transferring astronauts from its Orion capsule to Starship in lunar orbit before heading down to the surface.
Source: Orange County Register