In what was the space agency’s record-breaking 62nd mission, Elon Musk’s SpaceX launched 21 more of its Starlink internet satellites into orbit from its base in Florida tonight.
The Starlink spacecraft launched tonight at 10:47pm EDT (0247 GMT) from Florida’s Kennedy Space Centre, according to Space.com.
SpaceX and Starlink fans were also able to share in the excitement since a webcast started 5 minutes prior to launch time exclusively on the social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter) on the SpaceX feed.
The first stage of the Falcon 9 safely landed on Earth 8.5 minutes after lifting off from the drone ship and the drone Just Read the Instructions was positioned above the Atlantic Ocean.
This particular booster was launched and landed for the tenth time, per a SpaceX mission description.
The Falcon 9’s top stage kept moving for another 65 minutes following liftoff, eventually sending the 21 Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit (LEO).
The launches underline the ongoing space race to deploy space internet satellites to give wide access to customers all across the globe.
SpaceX’s Starlink satellites are a series of low altitudes to provide high-speed, low-latency internet to users across the world.
A large number of Starlink satellites is required to provide users with uninterrupted service.
The user inputs are received by the satellites and then sent to nearby Starlinks for relay to “gateway” ground stations connected to high-speed data lines.
Responses are then passed along back to the user.
A busy and exciting day was also in store for Musk’s space agency tonight as they welcomed the four astronauts from its Crew-6 mission, who had been in the International Space Station (ISS) since March.