Historic SpaceX Moment: Liftoff of Falcon 9 Starlink Mission Marks 51st Launch from Space Coast in 2023
By Richard P. Gallagher // September 24, 2023
Falcon 9 rocket roared to life from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral
ABOVE REPLAY: SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, under CEO Elon Musk’s visionary leadership, successfully launched the Starlink Group 6-18 satellites at 11:38 p.m. EDT, from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. It was another epic Liftoff as the Falcon 9 roared to life from Launch Complex 40 marked the 51st launch from the Space Coast in 2023.
BREVARD COUNTY • CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE STATION, FLORIDA – SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, under CEO Elon Musk’s visionary leadership, successfully launched the Starlink Group 6-18 satellites at 11:38 p.m. EDT, from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
The Falcon 9 rocket roared to life from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral, Florida, carrying the Starlink Group 6-18 satellites into orbit.
The first stage booster, B1060, also became the second booster to achieve 17 launches and landings following booster B1058. Each new mission represents a significant leap towards Elon Musk’s vision of providing global space-based internet connectivity.
The mission’s success was the result of meticulous pre-launch preparations. The Falcon 9 rocket, an engineering marvel standing nearly 230 feet tall and weighing a staggering 1,208,000 pounds when fully fueled, was transported to the launch pad a day prior. The “transport erector,” a specially designed truck, adeptly handled the rocket’s weight and length, positioning it vertically.
Approximately 35 minutes before liftoff, the fueling process commenced, marked by two “big vents” indicating successful fueling of the first and second stage LOX tanks. Control was then handed over to automated systems, ready to detect and respond to anomalies swiftly.
Fortunate weather conditions, with temperatures in the 80s and mostly cloudy skies accompanied by light winds, allowed the mission to proceed but was delayed till 11:38 p.m.
The mission unfolded with precision, with a choreographed sequence that included ignition, liftoff, reaching the critical MAXQ point of maximum aerodynamic pressure, Main Engine Cutoff (MECO), stage separation, and a remarkable first stage boost-back maneuver, leading to a landing on the barge ship “Just Read the Instructions.”
The second stage ignited, followed by the jettisoning of the payload fairings, making way for the deployment of the Starlink Group 6-18 satellites.
The mission’s significance lies in its contribution to global space-based internet connectivity. Elon Musk’s vision of bridging digital divides worldwide is becoming a reality, thanks to SpaceX’s dedication to innovation in space exploration and connectivity.
SpaceX’s successful launch of the Starlink Group 6-18 satellites not only represents a remarkable technological achievement but also holds the promise of a more connected and accessible future for people across the globe. As we look to the skies, we anticipate the day when space-based internet connectivity becomes a reality for all.