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SpaceX launches 34 Starlink satellites plus commercial satellite for AST Mobile

Capitalism in space: SpaceX today successfully used its Falcon 9 rocket to launch 34 additional Starlink satellites into orbit. It also launched another customer’s communications satellite, AST Mobile’s BlueWalker-3.

The first stage successfully completed its record 14th flight, the most times a Falcon 9 first stage has been reused. It landed on a drone ship in the Atlantic. In addition, the two fairing halves completed their 4th and 5th flights, respectively. As of this writing, the satellites have not yet deployed from the upper stage.

The leaders in the 2022 launch race:

41 SpaceX
36 China
11 Russia
6 Rocket Lab

American private enterprise now leads China 56 to 36 in the national rankings, and the entire world combined 56 to 55. That U.S. lead stands a good chance of increasing this weekend, as tomorrow SpaceX plans another Starlink launch, but more significantly, Firefly will make the second attempt to complete the first launch of its Alpha rocket, almost a year after the first failed attempt.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

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"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • geoffc

    Looks like the Sunday SpaceX launch is pushed back to Tuesday.

    What is of interest is that the AST satellite is a satellite to cell phone demonstrator, a direct competitor to SpaceX’s announced plans for Starlink and TMobile a few weeks ago.

    And coming up in December, SpaceX will pull OneWeb’s balls out of the fire, by beginning the process of launching the rest of their telecom communication constellation that is a direct competitor to Starlink,

    And they launched all of Iridium Next and now will launch 5 of the ground spares in 2023. Which is also a competitor to Starlink.

    It is nice to see them setting up a monopoly defense, of how can we be a monopoly, when we launched all three of our direct competitors?

    Oops, almost forgot, bailing out NorthrupGruman, by launching Cygnus to bide them over till they can build their third iteration of Anatares.

    It is almost comical, to consider, “WWUD? What would ULA do?”.

  • Alton

    Geoff —

    ? ? ? Cheers

  • john hare

    “”It is almost comical, to consider, “WWUD? What would ULA do?”.”””

    Lobby for a government cost plus contract.

  • Jeff Wright

    BlueWalker 3 is huge…it uses a huge dish so as to not demand special equipment:

    “The reason why our satellite is large is because in order to communicate with a low-power, low internal strength phone, you just need a large antenna on one side with a lot of power, and so that’s a critical part of our infrastructure,” AST SpaceMobile Chief Strategy Officer Scott Wisniewski told in an interview. “We think that’s really important for communicating directly with regulars handsets, with no change to the handset, with no extra burdens on the user.”

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