Falcon 9 rocket launch with Starlink Group mission 4-4 – December 18, 2021

Falcon 9 rocket launch with Starlink Group mission 4-4 – December 18, 2021

Friday, December 17, 2021 7:07 PM

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The launch of the Falcon 9 rocket with the Starlink Group 2-1 mission (Source: SpaceX)

The launch of the Falcon 9 rocket with the Starlink Group 2-1 mission (Source: SpaceX)

The launch of the Falcon 9 rocket with the Starlink Group 2-1 mission (Source: SpaceX)

The Falcon 9 rocket from the SLC-4E platform at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California with the Starlink Group 4-4 (Starlink-33) mission is scheduled to take off on 18 December at 10:24 Polish time (09:24 UTC). Another 52 satellites of the Starlink constellation will be delivered to low Earth orbit.

You will be able to follow the start live on our website.

Starlink is a satellite constellation built by SpaceX in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), which is to ultimately provide Internet access services around the world. Currently, there are 1,753 Starlink satellites in orbit, and the service is used by over 140,000 users in twenty different countries around the world, including Poland.

Planned orbits of the satellites of the first part of the Starlink constellation
number of orbital planes 72 72 36 6 4
number of satellites in the plane 22 22 20 58 43
height 550 km 540 km 570 km 560 km 560 km
inclination 53° 53,2° 70° 97,6° 97,6°

For this mission, 52 satellites will be placed in a preliminary orbit with an inclination of 53.2 ° at an altitude between approximately 210 km and approximately 340 km above the Earth’s surface. Cargo separation is planned less than 16 minutes after take-off. After checking all subsystems, the satellites will begin raising their orbits to an altitude of 540 km. It will be the first launch of the Starlink satellites from Vandenberg into an orbit with an inclination of 53.2 °. During the first California Starlink mission in September, the satellites entered an orbit with an inclination of 70 °.

During this flight, for the first time in history, the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket, which previously took part in ten flights, will be used. These were Crew Demo-1 missions in March 2019, RADARSAT Constellation Mission in June 2019, Starlink-4 in January 2020, Starlink-7 in April 2020, Starlink-10 in August 2020, Starlink-14 in October 2020 year, SXM-7 in December 2020, Starlink-17 in January 2021, Starlink-22 in March 2021 and Starlink-27 in May 2021. After the separation of the second stage, the booster is planned to land on an autonomous platform Of Course I Still Love You (OCISLY) in the Pacific Ocean.

It is also likely that an attempt to recover the rocket’s payload covers after launching on the surface of the Pacific Ocean is planned. They are to be retrieved by the ship NRC Quest.