SpaceX launches 51 Starlink satellites, orbital transfer vehicle

By Allen Cone

Sept. 5 (UPI) -- SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket carrying 51 Starlink satellites to orbit as well as an orbital transfer vehicle for another company on Sunday night from Port Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, one day after NAA scrapped a mission to the moon.

The payload was sent into a low Earth orbit from Space Launch Complex 40 at 10:09 p.m. EDT.


The first stage separated and landed on the droneship Just Read the Instructions in the Atlantic Ocean. It was the booster's seventh flight.

Starlink satellites provide internet access to most parts of the planet. SpaceX operates the Starlink company. SpaceX has sent more than 3,000 Starlink satellites into orbit, including more than 25 Starlink-centric missions this year.

RELATED SpaceX wins another $1.4 billion from NASA to fly missions to Int'l Space Station

SpaceX has been approval to launch 12,000 Starlink satellites and has asked an international regulator for an additional 30,000.

Also onboard was was private-space company Spaceflight's orbital transfer vehicle Sherpa-LTC, which will deliver an undisclosed customer payload to a further orbit before being deployed.

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


Sherpa-LTC2 deployed from the upper stage about 49 minutes after liftoff, and the Starlinks followed 23 minutes later.

SpaceX has already sent more than 3,000 Starlink satellites into orbit, in an effort to create a huge constellation for broadband service targeted for remote areas.

The Falcon 9 flight was the 59th for Starlink, including 38th launch of the year from Florida.

RELATED SpaceX, T-Mobile set to announce plans to 'increase connectivity'

It was SpaceX's 40th Falcon 9 launch of the year with 174 since inception in 2010 and 149 from Florida's coast.

On Saturday morning, NASA postponed the Artemis I moon mission for at least 2 1/2 weeks after a fuel leak derailed the launch of the spacecraft for the second time from Complex 39B at Kennedy Space Center.

Latest Headlines