SpaceX lifted another batch of Starlink Satellites into low-Earth orbit on Thursday, after trivial delays, according to a live stream shared on the company's YouTube page.
SpaceX launches 60 more Starlink satellites
The two-stage Falcon 9 rocket lifted a full load of 60 Starlink satellites into the Florida sky at 8:46 AM EDT from Pad 39A, at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, reports Space.com.
SpaceX's first-stage booster returned to Earth roughly 9 minutes after launch and landed on one of SpaceX's drone ships floating on the deep waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
Deployment of 60 Starlink satellites confirmed pic.twitter.com/DdBxIOdOg1— SpaceX (@SpaceX) September 3, 2020
This launch was SpaceX's third try at getting this mission off the ground, after weather-related and data-review delays. It's also the first Starlink mission in September — SpaceX's 16th as of writing in 2020. The company's impressive fleet of veteran boosters has seen an active summer, with the California-based rocket manufacturer completing a new achievement over its last Starlink flight: this is the first first-stage booster to have launched and landed six times.
Twelfth Starlink mission launches with perfect weather
The weekend preceding this launch saw stormy weather (not to mention a Category 4 hurricane in Louisiana), but the Thursday launch saw sunny skies with clear weather, which made for an almost ideal launch. One could hear cheers as the engines roared to life and ripped into the sky.
"What a beautiful sight," said SpaceX engineer and launch commentator Kate Tice once the satellites floated away as perfectly as a computer simulation.
Initially slated for a "doubleheader launch" — where two different Falcon 9s would launch from different Florida-based launch pads in one day — this launch could have been another first for SpaceX.
However, these plans were scrapped due to poor weather conditions and thunderstorms that are alas typical of the area in the summertime.
As SpaceX continues to build its constellation of Starlink missions (this one marks the 12th iteration) — it seems every launch comes with a suite of firsts not just for space flight, but also for the company, and the future of internet service — which SpaceX will soon offer to people typically excluded by earlier coverage zones.