SpaceX Launches Heaviest Falcon 9 Payload Ever in Latest Starlink Mission [VIDEO]
SpaceX launched 56 Starlink satellites on Thursday morning via its Falcon 9 booster, with a payload weighing over 17.4 metric tons making it the heaviest payload ever flown on the latter.
On Thursday, January 26 at 4:22 a.m. ET, Falcon 9 launched 56 Starlink satellites to low-Earth orbit from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida.
This was the ninth launch and landing for this Falcon 9 first stage booster, which previously launched CRS-22, Crew-3, Turksat 5B, Crew-4, CRS-25, Eutelsat HOTBIRD 13G, mPOWER-a and now two Starlink missions, according to SpaceX.
The Falcon 9 booster also holds a world record for the most launches in a year with 61 payloads launched in 2022. The booster also set a reuse record last month for performing three launches in under 36 hours.
SpaceX was recently contracted to launch NASA’s upcoming Sentinel-6B Mission using the Falcon 9 booster, set to increase crucial research on sea level data.
The news comes about four months after SpaceX’s plans to launch Starlink Gen2 satellites weekly in 2023 were discovered in a filing with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Falcon 9 launches to orbit 56 Starlink satellites—weighing in total more than 17.4 metric tons—marking the heaviest payload ever flown on Falcon pic.twitter.com/qrgjnm6tUQ
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) January 26, 2023
Last year, SpaceX was also approved by the FCC to launch as many as 7,500 Starlink satellites.
The news also comes as SpaceX prepares to launch its Starship reusable spacecraft’s inaugural flight in the coming months, as the company completed a Wet Dress Rehearsal of the ship earlier this week.
All that remains is for SpaceX to perform a Static Fire of 33 Raptor Engines and the subsequent receipt of a launch license from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) before the company can perform Starship 24’s initial launch.
Watch the full replay to this early morning Starlink launch below: