SpaceX launched 52 more of its Starlink Internet satellites into orbit Saturday evening (Sept. 24) and rocketed to land in the ocean.
Nine minutes later, Falcon 9’s first stage came back down to Earth for a precision touchdown. SpaceX A “droneship” stationed in the Atlantic Ocean lacks gravitas. This was the fourth liftoff and landing for this particular booster. According to the SpaceX mission description (opens in new tab).
Falcon 9’s upper stage deployed 52 Starlings 15.5 minutes after schedule. SpaceX confirmed via Twitter (opens in new tab).
Saturday’s launch continues the creation of SpaceX’s Starlink megaconstellation, which will provide Internet service to people around the world. The company has now launched nearly 3,400 Starlink satellites and plans to launch thousands more.
Starting next year, SpaceX will begin launching Starlink Version 2 satellites, which will be much larger and more capable than the current iteration. The V2 spacecraft can connect directly to smartphones, and T-Mobile will do so through a program called “Above and beyond coverage,” SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk It was announced last month.
SpaceX plans to introduce its larger, next-generation Starlink V2 modules Starship The vehicle, if all goes according to plan, will carry cargo and people to the Moon and Mars. Starship’s First Orbital Test Flight “High Chance” Occurs in NovemberMusk said recently.
Saturday’s launch marks SpaceX’s 43rd orbital mission of 2022, adding to the company’s single-year liftoff record. SpaceX’s previous high was 31 in a year, which was reached in 2021.
Editor’s note: This story was updated on September 24 at 7:55 pm EDT with news of the successful launch, rocket landing and satellite deployment.
By Mike Wall “out (opens in new tab)” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Carl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelWall (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or on Facebook (opens in new tab).