SpaceX nails Starlink launch, with another coming next week

Elon Musk's company was aiming for two launches in a single week, but has to postpone the second mission.

Eric Mack Contributing Editor
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Eric Mack
2 min read

While SpaceX and Elon Musk have been celebrating another high-altitude test of their next-generation Mars rocket in Texas, the company has also been staying busy in Florida with Falcon 9 missions carrying dozens of new Starlink satellites to orbit.

The first batch of 60 of SpaceX's flying routers for its nascent Starlink broadband service blasted off at 10:19 p.m. PT Wednesday (1:19 a.m. Thursday in Florida) from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The first-stage booster landed on the droneship Of Course I Still Love You in the Atlantic eight minutes later, and SpaceX confirmed the deployment of the satellites nearly an hour after that.

Meanwhile, two more Starlink missions are in the works. A separate batch of satellites was originally set to blast off Monday but has been postponed a few times and is now delayed indefinitely while SpaceX conducts additional inspections of its first-stage booster, which is among the company's most senior.

A third Falcon 9 rocket carrying yet more Starlinks is also being readied for a launch that could come as soon as Feb. 11.

Wednesday's flight was the 18th Starlink launch overall.

SpaceX has long been working toward upping the pace of its launches. Musk has said he'd eventually like to see his rockets landed and turned around for another launch within 24 hours.

You can watch the replay of the first launch above, and we'll bring you the next one as well right here, starting about 10 minutes before liftoff.

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