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SpaceX Falcon 9 return mesmerized Belizeans; rocket distributed new satellites for better Internet service

Posted: Tuesday, February 28, 2023. 10:04 am CST.

Photo Credit: Informa T Corozal

By Aaron Humes: The night sky was lit up on Monday evening by a round, bright object travelling across the region that some described as a ‘strange’ UFO.

It was seen across the country as confirmed by multiple readers, and as far north as Mexico and as far east as Vieques in Puerto Rico. But what was it?

A Facebook poster, John Romero, confirmed that the company SpaceX had earlier launched 21 V2 mini satellites from a rocket known as Falcon 9, which was returning after its deployment.

Per space.com, liftoff from Florida Cape Canaveral Space Force Station took place just after five this evening local time, five hours later than planned due to weather concerns. The first stage of the Falcon 9 returned about eight and a half minutes later while its upper stage continued into low Earth orbit, where it will deploy the 21 Starlink satellites 64.5 minutes after liftoff.

The satellites are intended to improve internet service ahead of a full-size spacecraft to be launched later aboard the Starship Mars rocket. Per SpaceX founder/CEO Elon Musk, each spacecraft will weigh 1.25 tons and be able to send service directly to cellphones; SpaceX has already announced intentions to do so in 2023 via a partnership with T-Mobile.

SpaceX has now launched more than 4,000 Starlink satellites for internet service around the world, and more satellites are coming: The company has regulatory permission to send up 12,000 Starlink craft and has applied for approval to deploy nearly 30,000 satellites on top of that.

According to CBS News, the launch of a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule carrying a four-man crew bound for the International Space Station that was scheduled earlier as part of a tandem with SpaceX was called off with less than three minutes to go early Monday because of trouble with a system used to ignite the Falcon 9’s first stage engines.

Crew-6 commander Stephen Bowen, Warren “Woody” Hoburg, cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev and Emirati astronaut Sultan Alneyadi will make another attempt to launch the Crew-6 mission just before midnight Thursday morning, Belize time.


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