For SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM
PORT CANAVERAL/TITUSVILLE, FL – The now 4x flown to space and back SpaceX Falcon 9 1st stage recovered booster that launched over four dozen Starlink internet satellites to Low Earth orbit (LEO) last week on the 1st Space Coast liftoff of 2022, returned at last to Port Canaveral, Tuesday morning, Jan. 11, standing tall on the firms ‘A Shortfall of Gravitas’ (ASOG) droneship.
The recycled booster designated as B1062 sailed into Port during a beautiful sunrise morning Tuesday just past 7.a.m. EST (12 GMT) towed by tug Zion Falgout into the channel past Jetty Park pier – nearly five days after landing on ASOG on Jan. 6.
4x flown first stage booster B1062.4 successfully soft-landed on the ‘A Shortfall of Gravitas’ (ASOG) droneship as planned offshore in the Atlantic Ocean, some eight and a half minutes after Jan. 6 liftoff – making 101 successful booster landings overall.
ASOG was positioned off the Bahamas coast ahead of Jan. 6 liftoff.
Tug Zion Falgout towed the ASOG droneship carrying booster B1062.4 into the channel and docked at the normal berthing spot at North Cargo Pier 6.
We observed the 156 foot tall Falcon 9 first stage after arrival and standing atop ASOG and witnessed it being hoisted off by the giant Liebherr crane after 2 p.m. EST
Enjoy our Starlink 4-5 mission booster return and launch photos from the Space UpClose team of Ken Kremer and Jean Wright
Starlink 4-5 also kicks off as many as 7 planned launches in January by SpaceX, ULA and startup Astra
Indeed the next SpaceX Falcon 9 launch is slated for Jan. 13 on the Transporter-3 mission from pad 40.
Blastoff of the ‘flight-proven’ SpaceX Falcon 9 on the Starlink 4-5 mission took place right on time exactly at 4:49 p.m. EST (2149 GMT), Jan. 6, from Launch Complex-39A on NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida during an instantaneous launch window.
Large crowds gathered around the Space Coast region to watch the conveniently timed and rather rare daylight launch just before sunset and dinnertime that went off without a hitch under serene weather conditions.
Falcon 9 flew away and aloft on a rare southerly trajectory heading southeast and just north of the Bahamas at an inclination of 53.2 degrees into the second of five Starlink orbital ‘shells’ at different inclinations.
The payload comprised 49 upgraded Starlink internet communications satellites manufactured by SpaceX in their Redmond, Washington production facility – enlarging the existing and burgeoning broadband constellation to nearly 2000 launched thus far.
The goal of SpaceX’s Starlink constellation is to provide low cost, high-speed, low-latency broadband connectivity around the world.
This was the fourth launch and landing of this Falcon 9 first stage booster designated as B1062, which previously launched GPS III-4, GPS III-5, and the first all civilian human spaceflight mission on Inspiration4.
Thursday’s launch was the 3rd for the upgraded Starlinks from the Space Coast following the 4-1 and 4-3 missions with 53 and 48 internet sats launched on Nov. 13 and Dec. 2 – see our earlier stories and photos.
This year 2022 will see even more south polar launches than ever before and feature as many as five just in January, according to a statement from the U.S Space Force.
“The 2022 launch pace is going to be exceptionally busy with up to five polar, and seven total launches, projected for the month of January alone. While three polar missions successfully launched in the past year and a half, Cape Canaveral has never had five southern trajectory launches in a single month,” said Maj. Jonathan Szul, Director of Operations, 1st Range Operations Squadron at CCSFS.
“Due to the unique southerly trajectories, there will be a larger potential impact to air and sea traffic along the southeast coast of Florida. We ask that all pilots and mariners double-check their Notices to Airmen (NOTAM) and Notices to Mariners (NOTMAR) to ensure they are fully aware of all pending launch activities in this historic month on the Space Coast.”
Last year 2021 was a record-breaking year of 31 launches by SpaceX and ULA from the Space Coast and another launch record breaker is expected in 2022.
Liftoff video from SpaceX:
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) January 6, 2022
Ken’s prelaunch commentary about Starlink and What’s Ahead for NASA human and science missions and Florida Space Coast were featured on Fox 35 News Orlando and WFTV ABC 9 Orlando TV News
Watch Ken’s continuing reports about SpaceX Starlink , SpaceX Crew and Cargo Dragons, Artemis, SLS, Orion and NASA missions, DART, Lucy Asteroid mission, Blue Origin and Space Tourism, Commercial Crew and Starliner and Crew Dragon and onsite for live reporting of upcoming and recent SpaceX and ULA launches including Crew 1 & 2 & 3, ISS, Solar Orbiter, Mars 2020 Perseverance and Curiosity rovers, 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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