CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX not only sent off more than 50 Starlink satellites on Sunday night, but also an orbital transfer vehicle for another company.

What You Need To Know

  • The launch happened at Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station

  • Learn more about the missions for Starlink and Spaceflight

  • Watch the launch below

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket sent 51 Starlink satellites and an orbital transfer vehicle to low-Earth orbit from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

The instantaneous launch window opened at 10:09 p.m. EDT.

After the stage separation, the first stage landed on the droneship Just Read the Instructions, which was in the Atlantic Ocean.

The first-stage booster B1052 is no stranger to launches, as it has a number of them under its belt … if a belt was big enough to fit the Falcon 9’s 12-foot diameter.

The six missions are:

About the mission

The Starlink satellites provide internet access to most parts of the planet, stated the company. SpaceX operates the Starlink company.

Before Sunday’s launch, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics’ astronomer Jonathan McDowell recorded the following: 2,940 Starlink satellites were in orbit, with 2,905 working and 2,387 that are operational.

The Sherpa-AC is similar looking to the Sherpa-LTC. You can see what the Sherpa-LTC looks like here.

In addition to the Starlink satellites, also onboard is private-space company Spaceflight’s orbital transfer vehicle Sherpa-LTC.

The Sherpa-LTC (just one type in a family of Sherpas) is a spacecraft that transports private companies’ satellites and puts them in orbit while traveling in a rocket, in this case, the Falcon 9.

Spaceflight described the Sherpa as “a mothership for small satellites that allows them to rideshare and reduce their launch costs.”

Onboard the Sherpa-LTC is Boeing’s Varuna Technology Demonstration Mission. The mission is to “demonstrate technologies and perform in-orbit performance testing for a V-band communications system …,” Boeing stated in its orbital debris assessment report.

Part of the mission is to help determine if other companies’ hardware and equipment are compatible with Boeing’s V-band fixed satellite.

Watch the launch


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