Four days after ending a nearly decade-long drought in spaceflight originating from American soil, Hawthorne-based SpaceX launched another rocket from Cape Canaveral Wednesday, this time carrying a series of broadband internet satellites.
The Falcon 9 lifted off on schedule at 6:20 p.m. California time.
The rocket was carrying another batch of 60 Starlink satellites, adding to a growing array that is already more than 400 satellites strong, thanks to seven previous rocket launches.
Starlink is SpaceX founder Elon Musk’s planned worldwide broadband service, designed to offer low-cost global internet access. The array is expected to ultimately include thousands of satellites, and an exact timeline for completion hasn’t been determined.
Wednesday’s satellite launch had originally been scheduled in May, but it was postponed due to bad weather at the time. SpaceX then opted to put off the launch so it could focus on last week’s historic launch of two astronauts to the International Space Station.
Saturday morning’s launch marked the first manned space mission from American soil since the space shuttle program was retired in 2011. SpaceX also became the first private company to conduct such a launch.
Following Wednesday night’s launch, SpaceX again successfully recovered the Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage by landing it on a barge floating in the Atlantic Ocean.
The first stage of the rocket was used in four previous SpaceX missions, highlighting the company’s efforts to reuse rocket parts to save money on subsequent flights.
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