SpaceX just launched two extra batches of its Starlink internet satellites on Jan. 28, in doubleheader liftoffs that are just three hours apart. This is the first time the commercial aerospace company is launching two rockets three hours apart. During the first launch,
A Falcon 9 rocket topped with 23 Starlink spacecraft lifted off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida today during a 3.5-hour-long window that opened at 6:15 p.m. EST (2315 GMT). The second launch lifted off at a nearly four-hour window that opened today at 9:16 p.m. EST (6:16 p.m. local time, and 0216 GMT on Jan. 29).
During that second mission, the Falcon 9 rocket will ascend skyward carrying 22 more Starlink satellites from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The good news is that you can watch the two launches through SpaceX’s platform on X (formerly known as Twitter). SpaceX media team will begin the coverage for each launch in about five minutes before the launch windows opens.
What happened during today’s Starlink Doubleheader launches
Once the Falcon 9 rocket delivers both launches, it’s first stage descended back to Earth about 8.5 minutes after the liftoff. The first stage of both launches made a soft landing on SpaceX drone ship, stationed at the sea. The launch was recorded at the 18th launch and landing of the booster flying from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and the ninth launch for the rocket launching from Vandenberg, SpaceX reveals.
The aerospace firm set a reusable record of 19 successfully launches for its Falcon 9 in December 2023. The Falcon 9 upper stages proceeded to deploy the Starlink batches into low Earth orbit for about an hour after each liftoff. SpaceX also revealed that the launches will its eighth and ninth launch of the year.
The company is hoping to launch about 144 orbital missions this year alone. Its next launch will be coming up on Tuesday (Jan. 30), when the Falcon 9 will launch Northrop Grumman’s robotic Cygnus cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station.
What Today’s launches mean for the future of SpaceX
Launching two rockets within four hours apart is something that was impossible decades ago. However, SpaceX launching two rockets in just four hours apart has shown how creative the aerospace company is becoming. Keep in mind that Elon Musk founded SpaceX in 2002 with the intention of making humanity multiplanetary species.
The Tech billionaire still remain optimistic about accomplish such a difficult task for humanity. For SpaceX to achieve Mars colonization within this century, the company will learn how to launch hundreds or thousands of starships to deliver payloads on Mars.
Since the aerospace company has proven that it is possible to launch rocket three hours apart, they will possibly launch tens, or hundreds of starships to Mars in a day in the future. The future is SpaceX in exploring the universe with innovative approaches is quite promising. What do you think about today’s Starlink doubleheader missions?