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Launches: SpaceX wraps up Starlink launches for September

Starlink launch on September 24

SpaceX’s fourth and final Starlink launch for the month took flight at 23:32 UTC (7:32 p.m. EDT) on September 24, 2022. The Starlink 4-35 mission launched 52 Starlink satellites atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida. After liftoff, viewers watched the Falcon 9 first stage return to Earth on the drone ship A Shortfall of Gravitas. This liftoff marked the private company’s 177th Falcon 9 launch. Wow!

Want a recap of the action? See the recorded live stream above.

Sixth time’s the charm

Just a few days prior – after a five-day spell of uncooperative weather – at 00:18 UTC on September 19, SpaceX launched 54 Starlink satellites from Cape Canaveral in Florida. You can watch it in the tweet below. That mission, Starlink 4-34 was also launched atop a Falcon 9. At liftoff, the launch marked SpaceX’s 68th consecutive landing: a new record.

SpaceX Starlink launches in September 2022

Altogether, SpaceX had four Starlink launches this month.

Starlink Group 4-20 & Varuna: Monday • September 5, 2022 • 02:09 UTC
Falcon 9 Block 5 | Cape Canaveral, Florida | SUCCESS

Starlink Group 4-2 & BlueWalker 3: Sunday • September 11, 2022 • 01:20 UTC
Falcon 9 Block 5 | Kennedy Space Center, Florida | SUCCESS

Starlink Group 4-34: Monday • September 19, 2022 • 00:18 UTC
Falcon 9 Block 5 | Cape Canaveral, Florida | SUCCESS

Starlink Group 4-35: Saturday • September 24, 2022 • 23:32 UTC
Falcon 9 Block 5 | Cape Canaveral, Florida | SUCCESS

Growing numbers amid controversy

According to Wikipedia, as of September 2022, SpaceX has launched more than 3,000 Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit, though not all remained operational. Astronomer Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (@planet4589 on Twitter) keeps a web page tracking Starlink statistics, and as of September 5, 2022, he reported 3,076 operational Starlink satellites.

Love ’em or hate ’em, these Starlink satellites are part of SpaceX’s vision for a global internet communication satellite constellation. They deliver high-speed internet service worldwide, mainly to locations where ground-based internet is unreliable, unavailable, or expensive. Starlink currently has about 500,000 subscribers. The private company is well-known for launching batches back to back, several times a month, regularly lofting 60 satellites at a time. And SpaceX plans to build up to perhaps as many as 30,000 eventually.

Many thought seeing the first few Starlink satellites traveling together in the night sky was exciting. But then more were launched, and then more. And astronomers began to worry.

Because Starlinks are bright, astronomers say they’re photobombing astronomical images. They’re interfering with the professional astronomical observations that have brought us our modern-day view of the cosmos. And although SpaceX has tried to address the issue, they remain far from what astronomers say is acceptable.

Read more: Satellites versus stars: Which will dominate the sky?

Visit Jonathan McDowell’s Starlinks stats page

Starlink; Many short white lines in a dark sky and close-together long parallel lines cutting across.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Charlie Favret in Round Rock, Texas, captured this photo on December 13, 2019. The shorter dashes are star trails; the long parallel lines are Starlink satellites. Plus, there are also 2 meteors in this photo. Thank you, Charlie.

Bottom line: SpaceX had four Starlink launches scheduled for the month of September 2022. The fourth one, Starlink Group 4-35, took flight at 23:32 UTC on September 24, 2022, from Cape Canaveral in Florida.

Via Space Launch Schedule

September 26, 2022
Human World

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