SpaceX launched 54 extra of its Starlink broadband satellites to orbit and landed a rocket on a ship at sea on Saturday evening (Aug. 27).
A two-stage Falcon 9 rocket carrying 54 Starlink spacecraft lifted off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida Saturday at 11:41 p.m. EDT (0341 GMT on Aug. 28). That was about 80 minutes later than initially deliberate, as SpaceX waited for some dangerous climate to clear.
Rather less than 9 minutes after launch, the Falcon 9’s first stage got here right down to Earth for a touchdown on the SpaceX droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas, which was stationed within the Atlantic Ocean off the Florida coast.
Related: SpaceX’s Starlink megaconstellation launches in pictures
It was the second launch and touchdown for this Falcon 9 first stage. The booster additionally helped ship a robotic Dragon cargo capsule towards the International Space Station final December, in keeping with a SpaceX mission description (opens in new tab).
(*54*), the Falcon 9’s higher stage continued hauling the Starlink satellites skyward, ultimately deploying all 54 them into low Earth orbit about quarter-hour after liftoff as deliberate, SpaceX confirmed via Twitter (opens in new tab).
Saturday evening’s launch was the thirty eighth of 2022 for SpaceX, extending the corporate’s file for many orbital missions in a calendar 12 months. It was the twenty fourth mission of the 12 months dedicated to Starlink, SpaceX’s web megaconstellation.
SpaceX has huge plans for Starlink, as that aggressive launch cadence reveals. On Thursday (Aug. 25), for instance, Elon Musk introduced a take care of T-Mobile to make use of Starlink to beam connectivity on to smartphones.
That direct-to-handset service is predicted to debut subsequent 12 months. It will make use of Starlink Version 2 satellites, which might be a lot larger and extra succesful than the Starlink satellites SpaceX has launched so far.
Editor’s notice: This story was up to date at 12:10 a.m. EDT on Aug. 28 with information of the profitable launch, touchdown and satellite tv for pc deployment,
Mike Wall is the writer of “Out There (opens in new tab)” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a guide concerning the seek for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or on Facebook (opens in new tab).