Another SpaceX Launch Visible from the U.S. Virgin Islands

Residents treated to an unexpected light show in the night sky

  • Staff Consortium
  • March 11, 2024

Photo captured at 7:13 p.m. facing northwest from Francis Bay. By. DAVID WELLS

On Sunday, residents of the northern Caribbean, among them the U.S. Virgin Islands, were captivated by an evening sky illuminated by an unusual light, leading to an influx of images and questions to the Consortium's inboxes. This spectacle, which had previously stirred wonder, concern, and even alarm in February of the previous year, was once again the result of a SpaceX launch.

The aerospace company revealed that the light show was due to the launch of 23 Starlink satellites into low-Earth orbit aboard the Falcon 9 rocket, a first-stage booster that has been reused in 10 other satellite launches. The successful landing of the booster on "Just Read the Instructions," SpaceX's drone ship, occurred less than 10 minutes after liftoff.

This launch took place at 7:05 pm EST at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Shortly thereafter, another batch of 23 Starlink satellites was deployed into orbit by a separate Falcon 9 booster from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, a little over four hours later.

These satellites will augment the constellation of approximately 5500 Starlink satellites already orbiting our planet. However, this addition is only a fraction of the 12,000 satellites SpaceX has been authorized to deploy, and an even smaller fraction of the 42,000 satellites it aims to launch in the future.

The geographical positioning of the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station means that each SpaceX launch could treat residents of the U.S. Virgin Islands and neighboring islands to an extraordinary light show. Last year's event had left many wondering about the possibility of extraterrestrial activity, but Sunday's occurrence has further cemented the terrestrial origins of these awe-inspiring displays.

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