SpaceX launched another batch of Starlink satellites on Thursday morning.
The launch of a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station Launch Complex 40 with 60 Starlink satellites went up at 1:19 a.m. Thursday.
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SpaceX officials said Falcon 9′s first stage landed on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship.
This marked the 18th batch of Starlink satellites sent into orbit as SpaceX creates a global network of spacecraft providing internet to the globe.
About five hours later, in reverse order, SpaceX was supposed to launch satellites for the 17th Starlink mission but that launch has been delayed from 5:36 a.m. Thursday to 5:14 a.m. Friday to allow for pre-launch checks.
Liftoff! pic.twitter.com/fntllf6TpI— SpaceX (@SpaceX) February 4, 2021
There’s about a 30% chance of violating weather constraints with the primary concern being liftoff winds.
The ambitious launch timeline was always subject to change like most launches.
The U.S. Space Force’s 45th Space Wing said it had approved both SpaceX launches for Thursday and if it had happened it would be the first time since 1966 with two launches from Florida on the same day.
Great shots from this morning's launch! Since its maiden launch in 2019, our team has assisted in the deployment of over 1,000 #Starlink satellites—solidifying our bond w/ our mission partners & our dedication to providing assured access to space for the warfighter & the Nation. pic.twitter.com/GJgoUtCRn6— 45th Space Wing (@45thSpaceWing) February 4, 2021
“Those previous missions were Gemini 12 and Atlas Agena which lifted off 99 minutes apart from each other,” the 45th Space Wing tweeted prior to the rescheduling announcement. “The two Falcons will lift off less than 5 hours apart.”
SpaceX is offering Starlink internet to certain areas in the U.S. and Canada with plans to expand this year. These next few launches will push the company’s constellation to above 1,000 spacecraft in orbit.