January 26 at 4:22 am E.T. from SLC-40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station
Early this morning, amidst thunder storms and heavy clouds a Falcon 9 rocket roared off the launch pad with fifty-six Starlink satellites, marking a new record for the heaviest payload yet flown on the F9 rocket. This fifth launch of the year shows SpaceX is showing no signs of resting on their laurels of last year, and are going to push farther, and harder this year to advance the limits of their launch vehicles. It also marks the sixty-ninth dedicated Starlink internet satellite launch. These fifty-six sats now means the company has launched a total of 3,773 Starlink satellites into orbit, with several thousand more still to launch.
Weighing more than 17.4 metric tons, or more than 38,000 pounds, SpaceX engineers have been experimenting with engine throttle settings, fuel efficiencies, and other upgrades to stretch the Falcon 9’s lift capability. We’ve also been told that the company plans to eventually launch a second generation Starlink when the Starship rocket has launch capabilities. Those will be larger and more capable than the current version of SpaceX has now and will be able to transmit signals directly to cell phones.