Washington-SpaceX successfully launched 60 satellites for its Starlink broadband constellation on March 18, but failed to recover the first stage of the rocket, marking the company’s second consecutive booster failure during the Starlink mission. The
Falcon 9 rocket took off at 8:16 am. East of Cape Canaveral Air Force Base in Florida, the satellite was deployed in a low-Earth orbit of 221 kilometers in about 15 minutes. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted after the mission that one of the rocket’s nine first-stage engines was shut down prematurely during the ascent. He said that the
engine shutdown did not affect orbit. Musk did not say whether the engine shutdown will affect SpaceX’s inability to restore the thruster, which is completing its fifth ebb, which is the highest level SpaceX has ever attempted. Musk said that before SpaceX’s next mission, a “thorough investigation” is needed. Link
SpaceX had previously planned to launch its latest Starlink satellite on March 15, but because SpaceX called it “data away from home” during the engine power check, the launch was called off immediately after the engine was turned on. The
launch on Wednesday is the fifth time SpaceX has used the same Falcon 9 booster. SpaceX used the same thruster to launch 10 Iridium Next satellites in July 2018, the Saocom1A satellite in Argentina in October 2018, the Nusantara Satu satellite in Indonesia in February 2019 and the second in November. Starlink dedicated task. The company designed the Falcon 9 first-tier booster, each booster can complete 10 flights. Link
SpaceX modified the mission profile of the Starlink launch from the February 17 mission, leaving 60 satellites in an elliptical orbit instead of a circular orbit to reduce rocket load and promote booster recovery. However, none of the tasks using the modified configuration file were successful.
SpaceX successfully recovered a booster between Starlink missions and landed on the first stage of the NASA CRS20 space station refueling mission on March 9. SpaceX’s launch on March 18, Link
successfully reused half of the payload fairing of the Starlink mission last May. The company said it restored half of the fairings again, but pulled them out of the ocean instead of grabbing them while descending with the ship. “Boss” and “Mrs. Tree”, they are equipped with large catching nets. 4,444 SpaceX has launched 362 Starlink satellites, including two demonstration spacecraft in 2018. The company said it will test the last 60 satellites at the height of the drop. , And then use electric propulsion to elevate them to a target orbit of 550 kilometers. Link
SpaceX is building and launching as many as 12,000 or even possibly 42,000 satellites for the global Internet-connected constellation. Musk said at the Satellite 2020 conference that Starlink aims to Serve the most difficult-to-reach 34% of the population. Musk said SpaceX did not consider dividing Starlink as a separate business.