SpaceX Successfully Launched its 344th Mission Last Night, Sending 23 Starlink Satellites to LEO Despite Geomagnetic Storm Warnings

SpaceX's satellite division now maintains nearly 6,000 satellites in orbit.

(Cape Canaveral, Florida) Yesterday, on May 12th, Elon Musk’s SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launched 23 Starlink satellites into low-Earth orbit from Cape Canaveral Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at 8:53 p.m. EST.

IMG_7250 copy-11w.jpg

SpaceX's Falcon 9 launched 23 Starlink satellites to low-Earth orbit (LEO) last night, on May 12th; photo courtesy of SpaceX on Instagram, @spacex.

Starlink, the satellite arm of Musk’s SpaceX, maintains nearly 6,000 satellites in orbit, in the wake of yesterday’s launch, per Spaceflight Now. Starlink satellites provide internet service to approximately 2.7 million subscribers in 75 countries, with revenue projected to surpass $6 billion in 2024, according to SpaceNews.

Starlink's first satellites took to space in May of 2019, according to Space.com.

At the heart of Starlink’s journey is the Falcon 9 rocket, an industry workhorse designed to ferry both humans and payloads into space. What sets the Falcon 9 apart is its reusability, a feature that SpaceX proudly champions as helping to significantly reduce the cost of space access.

Yesterday's mission marked SpaceX’s 344th launch overall and the 307th successful landing of a SpaceX booster. The launch marked its Falcon 9’s 15th flight and SpaceX’s 34th dedicated Starlink launch of 2024, per SpaceX.

Amid the excitement of the launch, Starlink customers were cautioned over potential service disruptions due to a Geomagnetic Storm Warning issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

On Saturday, May 11th, Elon Musk posted on his social media platform X to 183 million followers, via @elonmusk: “Major geomagnetic solar storm happening right now. Biggest in a long time. Starlink satellites are under a lot of pressure, but holding up so far.”

According to SpaceFlight Now’s Launch Schedule, SpaceX’s next launch is set for May 14th when a Falcon 9 rocket will launch another batch of Starlink satellites from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California; the first stage booster will land on the droneship ‘Of Course I Still Love You.’

Newsfeed: Thursday, May 30, 2024