Cover Photo Credit: Next Horizons Spaceflight/Stephen Marr
Cape Canaveral, Florida – The hot Florida sunshine welcomed the seventh full launch of Starlink satellites on Wednesday, April 22 at 3:30 PM EDT. The satellites were hurled into orbit by a Falcon 9 booster, SN 1051, which landed eight minutes after liftoff on the drone ship Of Course I Still Love You 350 miles off the coast of Florida.
This is the fourth flight for the booster, B1051. It was first used on the DM-1 mission in March 2019. It also lifted RADARSAT in June 2019 and the fourth Starlink mission in January 2020.
With this seventh launch of Starlink satellites, SpaceX has extended its satellite constellation to 415 working satellites of the 420 launched. (Three satellites of Starlink 0 failed on launch, two satellites from that same flight are preparing to test active deorbiting capabilities.) The entire Starlink constellation will consist of 12,000 satellites in eight different orbital shells. The goal of the constellation network is to provide satellite internet service to users worldwide by 2024. It is believed they could open up North American services later this year. Each Falcon 9 Starlink launch puts 60 new satellites in orbit. Once Starship comes to fruition, it will be able to lift 400 satellites per launch.
Here is a gallery of our launch day photos!