SpaceX Starlink Group 4-18 Launch

SpaceX plans to launch 53 Starlink satellites into Shell 4, with an eventual 540 km circular service orbit at 53.22° inclination, on 2022-05-18 at 10:59 UTC. This will be the fifth flight of Falcon 9 booster B1052. Weather is currently forecast as 80% favourable for launch from Florida’s Launch Complex 39A.

Here is a pre-flight preview from Everyday Astronaut.

The mission was a complete success. SpaceX has announced, “Deployment of 53 Starlink satellites confirmed”. The video from the booster of the approach to the drone ship and landing was uninterrupted, clear, and absolutely spectacular. I have cued the replay video to start one minute before launch.

Space photographer Michael Cain caught this image of the Falcon 9 transiting the Sun during its ascent to orbit.