SpaceX-owned Elon Musk, launches Falcon 9 rocket carrying 46 Starlink satellites

WASHINGTON: On Friday, a new round of Starlink satellites were launched into space by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk's Space X. The founder of American satellite manufacturing and communications company Space X, Elon Musk, shared the details on the launch of the new satellite on his official Twitter account.

46 Starlink satellites were launched by a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 4 East (SLC-4E) at the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, according to Space X reports.

The rocket touched down over a drone ship in the Pacific Ocean nine minutes after launch, and it was in the air again in no time. Following the broadcast had ended, the satellites were supposed to be deployed by the second stage 63 minutes after liftoff.

According to a report from SpaceNews, the new satellites are a part of Group 3, which orbits in an area that may be vulnerable to "squalls" of debris from a Russian anti-satellite test that took place in November of last year. Recent data from the space-tracking company COMSPOC showed a conjunction squall event that will cause 6,000 close encounters to the 841 Starlink satellites, which make up around 30% of the SpaceX constellation.

Two orbiting objects are said to be in conjunction when they are less than 6 miles (10 km) apart, according to COMSPOC rules. Although SpaceX hasn't commented on whether any Starlinks were impacted, the firm has underlined in previous discussions about space trash that its satellites can rotate to avoid approaching spacecraft or debris. Group 3 of Starlink's five layers of spacecraft are in a comparable orbit to other sun-synchronous satellites that have previously encountered Russian ASAT debris, according to a report from COMSPOC.

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