ORLANDO, Fla. – A Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station early Thursday morning,
About 10 minutes after launch, the rocket’s first stage successfully landed on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.
The liftoff was originally set for Tuesday night, but SpaceX announced that it was standing down to take “some additional time for pre-launch checks.”
The rocket, which lifted off around 3:13 a.m. Thursday, sent about 60 more internet satellites into orbit as part of SpaceX’s Starlink constellation, which now exceeds 1,200 spacecrafts in low-Earth orbit.
The early morning launch marked the 21st dedicated to delivering Starlink satellites, but SpaceX has also sent up its own spacecraft on other ride-sharing rockets. The last Starlink launch happened March 4 and SpaceX is targeting another launch a few days after the current liftoff.
In the past month, Elon Musk’s company has begun expanding the internet service provided with the global satellite network and is accepting orders in Central Florida for the dishes required to get the sought after WiFi.
During the last Starlink launch, SpaceX engineers said they now have more than 10,000 customers, a number that will need to grow substantially if SpaceX wants to make ends meet with this internet service venture and fund its other endeavors, including the Starship spaceship under development in Texas.
Falcon 9’s first stage has landed on the Just Read the Instructions droneship pic.twitter.com/fI2VvU3kWO— SpaceX (@SpaceX) March 11, 2021
Deployment of 60 Starlink satellites confirmed pic.twitter.com/vltm8NijZC— SpaceX (@SpaceX) March 11, 2021
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