Hawthorne-based SpaceX launched another array of satellites Monday evening as part of its planned Starlink worldwide internet service.
The launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida occurred on schedule at 6:19 p.m. California time. The Falcon 9 rocket propelled 60 satellites into orbit to add to the growing Starlink array, which was already 120 satellites strong.
The first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket being used in the launch had flown three times previously, as SpaceX continues its efforts to reuse aerospace parts to slash mission costs. The rocket’s first stage flew twice last year and once in September 2018.
Following Monday night’s launch, SpaceX again recovered the rocket’s first stage, landing it on a barge — dubbed “Of Course I Still Love You” — floating in the Atlantic Ocean.
SpaceX also planned to attempt to recover part of the rocket’s fairing, or nosecone, using a boat named “Ms. Tree” and outfitted with a large net. It was unclear Monday night if that effort succeeded.
The planned Starlink internet system is expected to require more than a dozen more rocket launches carrying hundreds more satellites. SpaceX has previously estimated that the proposed Starlink array could involve as many as 12,000 satellites in varying orbits to provide global internet coverage.
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