SpaceX launches 52 more Starlink satellites and lands rocket at sea
SpaceX launched 52 more of its Starlink internet satellites into orbit on Saturday evening (September 24) and also successfully landed a rocket at sea.
A Falcon 9 rocket topped with 52 Stellar Link The spacecraft lifted off from the Cape Canaveral space station in Florida on Saturday at 7:32 p.m. EDT (2332 GMT).
Just under nine minutes later, the Falcon 9 first stage returned to Earth for a precise landing on the SpaceX A Shortfall of Gravitas “droneship”, which was stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. This was the fourth take-off and landing for this particular booster, according to a SpaceX mission description (opens in a new tab).
Related: SpaceX’s Starlink megaconstellation launches in photos
The Falcon 9 upper stage deployed all 52 Starlinks 15.5 minutes after liftoff as scheduled, SpaceX confirmed via Twitter (opens in a new tab).
Saturday’s launch continues the construction of SpaceX’s Starlink megaconstellation, which provides internet service to people around the world. The company has now launched nearly 3,400 Starlink satellites and plans to launch thousands more.
Starting next year, SpaceX will begin launching Starlink Version 2 satellites, which will be much larger and more capable than the current iteration. The V2 spacecraft will be able to pass connectivity directly to smartphones, and will do so for T-Mobile customers through a project called “Cover above and beyond,” Founder and CEO of SpaceX Elon Musk announced last month.
SpaceX plans to launch Starlink V2 batches aboard its massive next-gen Spatialship vehicle, which will also transport goods and people to the Moon and Mars, if all goes according to plan. Starship’s first orbital test flight ‘very likely’ take place in NovemberMusk said recently.
Saturday’s launch was SpaceX’s 43rd orbital mission in 2022, adding to the company’s single-year liftoff record. SpaceX’s previous record for launches in a year was 31, reached in 2021.
Editor’s note: This story was updated at 7:55 p.m. EDT September 24 with news of the successful launch, rocket landing and satellite deployment.
Mike Wall is the author of “The low (opens in a new tab)(Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for extraterrestrial life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in a new tab). Follow us on twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in a new tab) Or on Facebook (opens in a new tab).