On Friday, billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX sent up another group of Starlink satellites. Musk, founder of American spacecraft manufacturer and satellite communications business SpaceX, announced the new satellite launch on his official Twitter account.
According to SpaceX’s reporting, 46 Starlink satellites were successfully launched into low-Earth orbit via a Falcon 9 from Space Launch Complex 4 East (SLC-4E) at California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base.
The rocket successfully lifted off nine minutes after it was launched, after landing over a drone ship in the Pacific Ocean. After the broadcast ended 63 minutes after liftoff, the second stage was scheduled to deliver the satellites.
According to a report in SpaceNews, the new satellites are part of Group 3, which orbits in a shell that could be vulnerable to debris “squalls” from a Russian anti-satellite test that took place in November of last year.
Recently, COMSPOC, a business that monitors satellites in space, found a conjunction squall event that affects 841 Starlink satellites, or roughly 30% of the SpaceX constellation, with 6,000 near contacts.
If two circling objects are less than 6 miles (10 km) apart, then this is considered a conjunction by the COMSPOC. Though the business hasn’t said whether or not any Starlinks were damaged, SpaceX has previously stressed that its satellites may maneuver to avoid close-approaching spacecraft or debris in discussions about space junk.
COMSPOC reported that Group 3 of Starlink’s five tiers of spacecraft share a similar orbit to other sun-synchronous satellites that had previously passed near to the Russian ASAT debris.
According to Teslarati, Group 3 is located at an incline of 97.6 degrees at a height of 347 miles (560 kilometers).
Two further Group 3 collections were launched by SpaceX from Vandenberg on July 10 and July 22.
With its 36th flight of 2022, SpaceX set a new annual launch record. In 2022, the business completed its 34th booster reflight and its 62nd straight landing of a first stage.
Reports indicate that SpaceX’s Falcon 9 first stage flew for the tenth time on Friday.