SpaceX sent a space tug aloft with another large group of its Starlink internet satellites on Sunday night (September 4) — and a ship-board rocket landed at sea, too.
Also on board was the Starlink Group 4-20 Sherpa-LTC2, a space tug provided by Seattle-based Spaceflight. The tug carries payload for Boeing’s Varuna Technology Demonstration Mission (Varuna-TDM), which “aims to test the V-band communications of a proposed constellation of 147 non-geostationary broadband satellites”. According to SpaceNews (Opens in a new tab).
The first Sherpa-LTC orbital transport vehicle has been removed from SpaceX’s January 2022 launch opportunity due to a fuel leak, SpaceNews added.
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Sunday’s flight plan called for SpaceX to present the first phase of its plan Falcon 9 The missile returns to Earth for a soft landing on the drone, just read the instructions, which was stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. The landing – the seventh for this boost – took place as planned, about 8.5 minutes after launch.
Sherpa-LTC2 deployed from the upper stage of the Falcon 9 about 49 minutes after liftoff, followed by Starlinks 23 minutes after that, SpaceX Confirmed via Twitter (Opens in a new tab).
SpaceX has already sent more than 3,000 Starlink satellites into orbit, in an effort to create a huge constellation to serve broadband targeting remote areas. SpaceX has already launched more than 25 Starlink-centric missions in 2022.
SpaceX’s Sunday launch was its 40th in the year and it went on with the massive Starlink addition. SpaceX has secured approval to launch 12,000 satellites from Starlink and has asked an international regulator to give a thumbs up to 30,000 additional satellites.
In late August, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk Announced plans to send calling directly to smartphones using Starlink, in conjunction with T-Mobile. Another deal announced on Tuesday (August 30) will see Starlink service sent to Royal Caribbean cruise ships.