CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – After successfully sending two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station last week, commercial space company SpaceX launched dozens of satellites Wednesday night in a continued effort to build its Starlink network of internet-beaming spacecraft.
The 9:25 p.m. liftoff on Wednesday of the Falcon 9 rocket took place from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Inside the rocket’s nose cone, or fairings, were 60 Starlink satellites. SpaceX plans to create a space-based internet with thousands of spacecraft providing connectivity to remote locations around the world.
The launch marks the eighth for the Starlink constellation, bringing SpaceX’s total to 480 satellites in low-Earth orbit. The satellites can be spotted from Earth, which has raised the alarm of astronomers. On this launch, SpaceX says it is trying out a deployable visor to block sunlight from hitting the brightest areas of the spacecraft and reflecting light back down to Earth.
Falcon 9’s first stage has landed on the Just Read the Instructions droneship – the first orbital class rocket booster to successfully launch and land five times! pic.twitter.com/WCiFyyGn7g— SpaceX (@SpaceX) June 4, 2020
The Falcon 9 booster for this flight previously launched four times and landed again on the droneship called “Just Read the Instructions” in the Atlantic Ocean. The landing marked the first orbital rocket booster to successfully launch and land five times, according to SpaceX.
SpaceX also attempted to catch the rocket fairings using two boats with giant nets. The company has not disclosed whether that effort was successful.