Billionaire tycoon Elon Musk led by SpaceX launched another series of Starlink satellites into orbit on Friday.
Nine minutes after launch, the rocket landed for the first time on an unmanned aircraft in the Pacific Ocean and it took off shortly. The second phase is expected to deploy the satellites 63 minutes after launch after the live stream ends.
The new satellites, as reported by SpaceNews, belong to Group 3, orbiting a shell that could be susceptible to debris from a Russian anti-satellite test that took place last November.
A space tracking company COMSPOC recently revealed a mixed event in which 841 Starlink satellites representing about 30% of the SpaceX constellation were affected by 6,000 close approaches.
According to the COMSPOC standard, conjunction is defined as two objects orbiting 6 miles (10 km) apart. SpaceX has not commented on whether any Starlinks have been affected, but in previous discussions about space junk, the company has emphasized that its satellites can maneuver to avoid debris. break or the spacecraft is approaching.
COMSPOC stated in a report that Group 3 of 5 Starlink spacecraft classes are in orbit similar to other solar synchronous satellites that have come close to Russian ASAT debris before.
Group 3 is at an incline of 97.6 degrees and at an altitude of 347 miles (560 km), according to Teslarati.
SpaceX sent two other Group 3 collections into orbit, on July 10 and July 22, both from Vandenberg.
SpaceX’s 36th launch in 2022 added to its growing record of launches in a year. The company also finished the 62nd consecutive landing of the first stage and the 34th refit in 2022.
Friday’s flight was the 10th flight for this specific first leg of Falcon 9 which, according to reports, was a SpaceX mission.