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SpaceX rocket launches 49 Starlink satellites and an Italian spacecraft

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The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched 49 Starlink satellites for the global Internet and a spacecraft from the Italian company D-Orbit, which carried several experiments into orbit with cremated remains belonging to clients from all over the world, from the USA and Germany from New Zealand to Switzerland .

It happened at 17.15 Italia on January 31 from Vandenberg Base in California, which is SpaceX’s seventh launch since the beginning of 2023.

The D-Orbit vehicle, named Eclectic Elena, separated from the rocket about 57 minutes after launch, followed 20 minutes later by the Starlink satellites. Both are left at an altitude of about 333 km: 49 Starlinks will use their thrusters to reach SpaceX’s operational orbit, between 539 and 569 km, while the Italian carrier will descend at an altitude, to conduct its experiments near the Earth’s atmosphere. One of them, in fact, is a simulator of a new satellite delivery system that can be integrated into space launch vehicles and future locomotives, and is designed to burn up in the atmosphere within 4-8 weeks, to reduce the risk of producing new space junk.

The Italian vehicle also carries an onboard computer developed by researchers and students of the Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne (Epfl), a sail made by a German company, which will be deployed at the end of the mission to speed up re-entry into the atmosphere, and finally the ashes of the deceased, sent into orbit on a memorial space flight final.

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Wynne Dinwiddie
Wynne Dinwiddie
"Infuriatingly humble alcohol fanatic. Unapologetic beer practitioner. Analyst."
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