SpaceX launched 22 additional Starlink internet satellites into orbit early this morning (October 5), in the company’s 70th orbital mission of the year.
The Starlink spacecraft lifted off aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station tonight at 1:36 a.m. EDT (0536 GMT). The rocket was scheduled to launch on Wednesday at 10:45 p.m. EDT (0245 GMT on October 5), but was postponed several hours due to bad weather.
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As for the plan, the Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage returned to Earth for a vertical landing at sea aboard a SpaceX drone ship. Read the instructions about 8.5 minutes after launch.
This was the eighth takeoff and landing of the Falcon 9 first stage, according to A SpaceX mission description. Four of the previous seven launches sent Starlink bursts aloft.
Meanwhile, the 22 Starlink satellites from the Falcon 9 upper stage are scheduled to deploy to low Earth orbit (LEO) about 65 minutes after launch.
This morning’s flight was SpaceX’s 70th orbital mission in 2023. The majority of these launches have been dedicated to building out the massive Starlink constellation, which currently consists of More than 4,800 operational satellites.
The Falcon 9 rocket launched 66 orbital missions for SpaceX this year, while the company’s powerful Falcon Heavy rocket took care of the other three. But that latest number is about to grow: A Falcon Heavy is scheduled to launch for NASA’s Psyche asteroid mission on October 12.
SpaceX also launched a test flight this year of its new Starship deep space transportation system. That mission, which was not intended to send a payload into orbit, ended four minutes after launch when the spacecraft encountered problems.
Editor’s Note: This article was updated on Thursday, October 5 to add details about the launch.
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