SpaceX Starlink Satellites Soar from Space Coast During Stunning Middle of the Night Falcon 9 Blastoff: Photos

SpaceX Starlink Satellites Soar from Space Coast During Stunning Middle of the Night Falcon 9 Blastoff: Photos
Veteran SpaceX Falcon 9 booster roars to life for a spectacular middle-of-the-night blastoff at 3:13 a.m. ET, March 11, 2021 with exhaust spewing out from the flame trench and long water reflecting flames at Space Launch Complex-40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station – for 21st Starlink launch of broadband internet satellites. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

For SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM

CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE STATION, FL –  Another tranche of SpaceX Starlink broadband internet satellites soared to space during the spectacular middle-of-the-night blastoff of a veteran Falcon 9 booster from Florida’s Space Coast overnight this morning March 11 – while the firm maintained a relentlessly rapid launch cadence starting off the new year.

The flawless liftoff into cloud free nighttime skies launch took place right on time at 3:13 a.m. ET using recycled Falcon 9 booster B1058 soaring on its sixth flight from Space Launch Complex-40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, in Florida carrying the next batch of 60 Starlink satellites to low earth orbit during an instantaneous launch window.

Eight and a half minutes later the first stage successfully nailed the soft landing on the on “Just Read the Instructions” (JRTI) droneship. JRTI was prepositioned in the Atlantic Ocean of the coast of the Carolina’s some 400 miles (640 km) northeast of the launch site.

Launch and Landing: SpaceX Falcon 9 stunning streak to orbit 3:13 a.m. ET, March 11, 2021 on 21st Starlink mission and 400 mile (640 km) distant 1st stage booster landing burn over the Atlantic Ocean after middle-of-the-night blastoff Space Launch Complex-40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. This two image long exposure composite captured with fisheye lens – bracketed by pad 41 at left and pad 37 at right with flames reflecting below Cape Canaveral channel. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

The 229-foot-tall (70-meter) Falcon 9 flew into clear and star filled nighttime skies and successfully delivered the twenty first Starlink internet satellite mission with five dozen Starlinks encapsulated inside the recycled nose cone to low Earth orbit (LEO) from Florida’s Spaceport.

All 9 Merlin 1D first stage engines ignited to generate approx. 1.7 million pounds of liftoff thrust fueled with liquid oxygen and RP-1 propellants that began propellant loading at T Minus 35 minutes.

The two-stage Falcon 9 rocket launched on a northeasterly trajectory from Cape Canaveral targeted to deliver the 60 Starlinks to an initial transfer orbit between 161 miles and 174 miles (260 and 281 kilometers) in altitude.

 

Veteran SpaceX Falcon 9 booster roars to life for a spectacular middle-of-the-night blastoff at 3:13 a.m. ET, March 11, 2021 with exhaust spewing out from the flame trench and long water reflecting flames at Space Launch Complex-40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station – for 21st Starlink launch of broadband internet satellites. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

The launch came a day late after SpaceX decided to halt launch preparations originally targeting  Tuesday evening, March 9 at 9:58 p,m. ET in order to carry out further “prelaunch checks.”

This 21st Starlink mission is officially designated as V 1 L20.

Enjoy our eyewitness launch and prelaunch static fire test photos at Space UpClose from the team of Ken Kremer and Jean Wright

Liftoff of SpaceX Falcon 9 on 21st Starlink mission at blastoff at 3:13 a.m. ET, March 11, 2021 from pad 40 on on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL. Credit: Jean Wright/spaceupclose.com

The Starlinks were successfully deployed about 1 hour and five minutes after liftoff  as they soared 180 miles (291 kilometers) above Earth just south of New Zealand.

Watch this SpaceX video:

Recycling the 1st stage boosters many times has enabled SpaceX to maintain a rapid launch cadence of nearly 3 launches per month last year and even more planned this year.

 

SpaceX Falcon 9 stunning streak to orbit 3:13 a.m. ET, March 11, 2021 on 21st Starlink mission after middle-of-the-night blastoff Space Launch Complex-40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL – soaring over my cameras with flames reflecting below Cape Canaveral channel. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

The Falcon 9 first stage rocket booster B1058 supporting this mission previously supported launch of NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station on Demo-2 on its inaugural mission in May 2020, as well as ANASIS-II, CRS-21, Transporter-1, and a Starlink mission.

The payload fairings are also recycled.

Two SpaceX ships were deployed to retrieve the fairings again.

One half of Falcon 9’s fairing previously flew on the ANASIS-II and SXM-7 missions, and the other half previously supported launch of Sentinel-6A.

Following stage separation, SpaceX landed Falcon 9’s 15-story-tall first stage on the “Just Read the Instructions” (JRTI) droneship.

Overall this marked the 76th Falcon 9 1st stage landing by sea or land.

Watch this SpaceX video:

 

This new Starlink launch comes just one week after the prior launch from pad 39A last week on Thursday, March 4  that disappeared quickly in less than 10 seconds behind thick nighttime clouds – check out our story.

Veteran SpaceX Falcon 9 booster arcs over and soar to orbit with Merlon engines firing for a spectacular middle-of-the-night blastoff at 3:13 a.m. ET, March 11, 2021, from Space Launch Complex-40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL – for 21st Starlink launch of broadband internet satellites. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Starlink promises to offer High-speed, low latency broadband internet across the globe starting in rural areas and expanding.

Starlink is now delivering initial beta service both domestically and internationally, and will continue expansion to near global coverage of the populated world in 2021.

Veteran SpaceX Falcon 9 booster roars to life for a spectacular middle-of-the-night blastoff at 3:13 a.m. ET, March 11, 2021 with exhaust spewing out from the flame trench and long water reflecting flames at Space Launch Complex-40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station – for 21st Starlink launch of broadband internet satellites. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Following this latest 21th batch that brings the total number of Starlink satellites launched to 1,265 internet satellites.  That includes earlier prototypes mostly from the first launch as well as the 10 Starlink sats launched to polar orbit on the last Falcon 9 launch on Transporter-1 mission on Jan. 24. Check out our story and photos

The actual number of Starlink satellites is estimated to be at least 60 less due to some earlier versions being intentionally deorbited due to malfunctions or other reasons

 

Astronomer Jonathan McDowell keeps a running tally of Starlink at this page

https://planet4589.org/space/stats/megacon/starbad.html

The 500 pound flat panel Starlink satellites are manufactured by SpaceX in Redmond, Washington.

The new mission thus fortifies the Starlink constellation of relay satellites that one day upcoming will offer a competitive alternative to existing broadband services across North America – including the US and Canada

 

And now its expanding!

“This week, the Starlink team is excited to launch service in Germany and New Zealand for the first time, and expand its existing service in the UK.”

Learn more about our international coverage on our webcast, or visit starlink.com to see if Starlink is available in your area.

Initial Starlink service is priced at $99 a month.

The Starlink Starter kit sells for $499 upfront cost to order.

Starlink dish. Credit: SpaceX

Watch this SpaceX tweeted liftoff video:

The next Starlink launch is lasted for March 14.

The path to launch was cleared following a successful static fire test at 6 p.m. on March 8.

SpaceX conducts successful static fire test of veteran Falcon 9 first stage engines at 6:00 p.m. ET on Mar. 8 with exhaust spewing out from the flame trench at Space Launch Complex-40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station – for 21st Starlink launch retargeted for Mar. 11, 2021 at 3:13 a.m. ET – as seen from the Indian River, Titusville, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

My static fire pics were featured at WKMG CBS 6 TV News Orlando on March 8-10.

 

Watch Ken’s continuing reports about Starlink, Mars 2020 Perseverance and Curiosity rovers, Artemis and NASA missions, SpaceX, Commercial Crew Starliner and Crew Dragon and onsite for live reporting of upcoming and recent SpaceX and ULA launches including Crew 1 & 2, Demo-2, ISS, X-37B, Solar Orbiter, NRO spysats and national security missions and more at the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer – email: ken at kenkremer.com

Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics.
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Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events

Please consider supporting Ken’s work by donating at Patreon:

https://www.patreon.com/kenkremer

 

Featured at CBS 6 Orlando – LOX venting of SpaceX Falcon 9 moments prior to conducting static fire test of veteran first stage engines at 6:00 p.m. ET on Mar. 8 at Space Launch Complex-40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station – for 21st Starlink launch retargeted for Mar. 11, 2021 at 3:13 a.m. ET – as seen from the Indian River, Titusville, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
Featured at CBS 6 Orlando – SpaceX conducts successful static fire test of veteran Falcon 9 first stage engines at 6:00 p.m. ET on Mar. 8 with exhaust spewing out from the flame trench at Space Launch Complex-40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station – for 21st Starlink launch targeted for Mar. 11, 2021 at 2:13 a.m. ET – as seen from the Indian River, Titusville, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

 

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Ken Kremer

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports direct from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news. Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics. Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events.

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