"Due to recovery weather, now targeting Monday, February 21 at 9:44 a.m. EST for launch of Starlink," SpaceX announced on Twitter.
Today, the clear weather in Florida turned out to be perfect for the launch. In the morning, a new fleet of Starlink satellites was carried atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
At approximately nine minutes after liftoff, the rocket's first stage has landed back on the A Shortfall of Gravitas droneship, which is located in the Atlantic Ocean. The second stage continued to carry the 46 satellites to their designed orbit.
After about one hour from the landing of the first stage, SpaceX took to Twitter to confirm that the satellites were successfully deployed. This is the 38th Starlink launch and the fourth launch of 2022. The last batch, comprised of 49 satellites, was launched on February 3rd. However, shortly after the fleet of spacecraft was deployed, a geomagnetic storm nearly wiped out the entire fleet.
As many as 40 were estimated to come crashing back to Earth, SpaceX said in an update. The atmosphere warmed up too much, and the density of it caused the drag to increase, pulling dozens of spacecraft to their fiery doom.
Hopefully, the new batch will not have the same fate. Ultimately, the company plans to have as many as 42,000 satellites in what it's going to be the world's largest satellite internet constellation. With these 46 units freshly launched, the number has increased to more than 2,000.
Liftoff! pic.twitter.com/XIDjbJtDPz— SpaceX (@SpaceX) February 21, 2022