SpaceX with the Starlink 5-5 mission

March 24 at 11:33 am E.T. from SLC-40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station

With Starlink separation confirmed, SpaceX has officially put fifty-six new satellites into orbit today. That brings the grand total up to 4,161 Starlink internet satellites launched to date, including prototypes and failed satellites already retired, and deorbited from the constellation. SpaceX shows no signs of slowing their launch cadence this year, with today’s mission being the twentieth Falcon 9 to launch in 2023, Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of the company stated they are aiming for seventy more before the years end.

Though SpaceX recently launched their debut flight of the newest, v2 Mini Starlink satellites, the ones on today’s mission were the older v1.5 satellites that have been launched on the previous four, group five missions. During preparations for the launch the company did a static fire test of the rocket on Thursday, March 23. This is considered a rare event these days as the static fires have become a lot less common as more Falcon’s fly. Though no official word was given as to why the static fire they are usually performed when refurbishment has shown a reason to need extra data, i.e. engine swaps, or other major refurbs done between flights.

Today’s booster, B1067 has now flown ten times, and has become the seventh booster to do so in the launching fleet. Of those ten launches the most notable two would be the Crew-3 and Crew-4 missions. It’s also flown two CRS missions, two Starlink missions and several commercial satellite missions as well.