Spaceflight

SpaceX wraps up Starlink launches for February 2024

Starlink: A rocket with a flame coming out the bottom and smoke billowing up on a flat sea-front location.
SpaceX launched 24 Starlink satellites from Florida on a Falcon 9 on February 25, 2024. Image via SpaceX.

Successful Starlink launches in February 2024

Starlink Group 6-39: February 25, 2024, 5:06 p.m. EST (22:06 UTC)
Falcon 9 Block 5 | Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida | SUCCESS

Starlink Group 7-15: February 22, 2024, 8:11 p.m. PST (4:11 UTC Feb. 23)
Falcon 9 Block 5 | Vandenberg Space Force Base, California | SUCCESS

Starlink Group 7-14: February 15, 2024, 1:34 p.m. PST (21:34 UTC)
Falcon 9 Block 5 | Vandenberg Space Force Base, California | SUCCESS

Starlink Group 7-13: February 9, 2024, 4:34 p.m. PST (0:34 UTC)
Falcon 9 Block 5 | Vandenberg Space Force Base, California | SUCCESS

You can watch a recorded livestream of the Starlink launches on SpaceX’s X account.

After launch, look for a train of lights

Following every Starlink launch, the internet buzzes with people asking:

What’s that long line of lights in the sky that looks like a train?

In this case, what you’re seeing is the satellites moving into a higher orbit. And more specifically, you can check to see if they will pass over your area using the Find Starlink website.

Growing numbers amid controversy

According to Wikipedia, as of January 2024, Starlink consists of over 5,250 mass-produced small satellites in low Earth orbit that communicate with designated ground transceivers. They provide internet access to more than two million subscribers.

Love ’em or hate ’em, these 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. 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.

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

Because the satellites are bright, astronomers say they’re photobombing astronomical images. Therefore, they have the potential to interfere 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.

Bottom line: SpaceX’s fourth and final Starlink launch for the month took flight from Florida at 5:06 p.m. EST (22:06 UTC) on February 25, 2024.

Read more: Starlink satellites can look like a plume or train of light

Via Space Launch Schedule

Posted 
February 22, 2024
 in 
Spaceflight

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