SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched 60 new Starlink satellites early Thursday morning.
The Falcon 9 booster took off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 3:24 p.m. ET just hours after the explosion of the company’s Starship prototype rocket following the completion of a high-altitude test flight in Texas on Wednesday.
“COSMIC HURRICANE”, FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE EARTH’S UPPER ATMOSPHERE
The booster of the Falcon 9 rocket returned to Earth and landed about eight and a half minutes later aboard the SpaceX drone “Of course I still love you”, which sailed several hundred miles in the Atlantic Ocean.
“This will mark our 75th successful recovery of an orbital-class rocket and the eighth recovery of this particular booster,”
Thursday’s launch also marks the 109th flight in total for the SpaceX flareship, according to Space.com.
The deployment of 60 satellites took place a little more than an hour after the launch.
The expected launch has already been postponed three times this week, interrupted by both an automatic trigger and bad weather, NASASpacelight.com reported on Thursday.
This is the company’s sixth mission this year and Starlink’s 20th mission.
There are already more than 1,200 Starlink satellites in orbit – some of which are no longer working – making the largest constellation of artificial satellites, according to Fox 35 Orlando.
Earlier this year, SpaceX opened access to the satellites to the public in an ongoing or planned service area using a reservation reservation system.
The company plans to release tens of thousands more to build coverage, network capacity and speed.
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In a tweet on February 22, Musk said the constellation would provide active coverage of most of the Earth by 2021 and full coverage by 2022.