Falcon 9’s first stage has landed on the Of Course I Still Love You droneship pic.twitter.com/eN5gAeEDq0
91st Launch of 2022
At 12:03 am PT on December 11, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carried 22 Starlink satellites into orbit from Space Launch Complex 4 East in California. This midnight liftoff marked SpaceX's 91st orbital launch this year.
Expanding Starlink's Reach
The 22 satellites were deployed into a 53-degree inclination orbit to extend Starlink's coverage. They separated from the rocket's second stage around an hour after leaving the pad at Vandenberg.
Rapid Launch Turnaround
The West Coast site saw an impressively fast turnaround of just 6.5 days since its last launch. Streamlining processes like this will allow SpaceX to boost launch rates in 2023.
Veteran Booster's 13th Flight
Recovering first stage boosters is key for rapid reusability. The B1071 rocket that launched this mission returned for its 13th safe landing aboard the Of Course I Still Love You droneship just 8.5 minutes after liftoff.
Next Up: Falcon Heavy
SpaceX's most powerful operational rocket, the Falcon Heavy, is scheduled to launch the secretive X-37B spaceplane for the U.S. Space Force on December 10 from Florida.