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
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: