SpaceX launches 34 more Starlink satellites, AST SpaceMobile satellite

A SpaceX launch on Saturday inserted 34 more Starlink satellites into low-Earth orbit along with an AST SpaceMobile satellite, BlueWalker 3. During a launch from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, a two-stage Falcon 9 rocket failed to reach its target launch time.

Eight minutes after the first stage landed on the A Shortfall of Gravitas drone ship, the Falcon 9 rocket completed its 14th flight to date. The Falcon 9’s first stage has launched eight Starlink missions so far, including Crew Demo-2, ANASIS-II, CRS-21, Transporter-1, Transporter-3, and eight missions on ANASIS-II.

It was expected that SpaceX would deploy BlueWalker 3 first before adding Starlink satellites to its constellation. Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted on Friday that the mission was one of the company’s most complex. The online tracker of SpaceX satellite launches indicates that more than 3,250 satellites have been launched into low-Earth orbit. A total of 60 satellites were launched by the company in May 2019.

“Blue Walker 3 is the first and only satellite accessible by smartphones,” according to AST SpaceMobile, the company that builds space-based cellular broadband systems.” SpaciousMobile is an ultra-powerful network that will enable 4G/5G connectivity on land, at sea, and in flight,” the company said. Midland, Texas, is the home base of AST SpaceMobile.

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