SpaceX launched 54 extra of its Starlink broadband satellites to orbit and landed a rocket on a ship at sea on Saturday night time (Aug. 27).
A two-stage Falcon 9 rocket carrying 54 Starlink spacecraft lifted off from Cape Canaveral Area Drive 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.
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 Worldwide Area Station final December, in keeping with a SpaceX mission description (opens in new tab).
In the meantime, 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 by way of Twitter (opens in new tab).
Saturday night time’s launch was the thirty eighth of 2022 for SpaceX, extending the corporate’s document for many orbital missions in a calendar yr. It was the twenty fourth mission of the yr 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-Cellular to make use of Starlink to beam connectivity on to smartphones.
That direct-to-handset service is predicted to debut subsequent yr. It can make use of Starlink Model 2 satellites, which might be a lot larger and extra succesful than the Starlink satellites SpaceX has launched to this point.
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 e-book concerning the seek for alien life. Observe him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in new tab). Observe us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or on Fb (opens in new tab).