SpaceX Takes off from California with 20 Starlink Satellites

SpaceX Takes off from California with 20 Starlink Satellites

Early on Friday morning, May 10, SpaceX launched 20 Starlink internet satellites from California, 13 of which had direct-to-cell capability.

At 12:30 a.m. EDT on Friday, a Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Starlink vessel took off from Vandenberg Space Force Base (0430 GMT; 9:30 p.m. local time on May 9 in California). SpaceX had backed out of its first plan to launch the mission on Wednesday night, May 8.

About eight minutes after launch, the first stage of the Falcon 9 returned to Earth and landed on the SpaceX droneship Of Course I Still Love You, which was positioned in the Pacific Ocean.

As per the SpaceX mission description, this was the fourth launch and landing of that specific first stage.

While this was going on, the upper stage of the Falcon 9 continued to deliver the Starlink satellites to low Earth orbit (LEO), where they were eventually deployed approximately 61.5 minutes after liftoff.

23 of the satellites were just launched by SpaceX on a Starlink mission on Wednesday from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida into low-Earth orbit.

For SpaceX, consecutive launches are not at all unusual these days. For instance, the corporation launched two missions on March 30 from Florida’s Space Coast, a Starlink batch and the Eutelsat 36D communications satellite, less than four hours apart.

Sanchita Patil

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