SpaceX nearing 500 Starlink satellites now in orbit

Less than a week after it first sent humans to space, Elon Musk's company completed its eighth launch of its broadband satellites.

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The Falcon 9 launch in November 2019 carried 60 Starlink satellites. On Wednesday, it sent up more.


Less than five days after its historic Demo-2 mission launching NASA astronauts over the weekend, SpaceX followed the feat by sending another batch of 60 high-speed internet satellites into orbit and setting a new milestone for reusing its rockets. 

The latest payload of Starlink satellites was launched from Florida's Cape Canaveral on Wednesday evening atop a Falcon 9 rocket that had previously flown four times, a new record for rocket recycling. 

The cargo included the company's latest attempt to fix the unexpected brightness of the orbiting routers, which has caused significant consternation among astronomers and astrophysicists. One of the satellites just launched is equipped with a sunshade called "VisorSat" that reduces its reflectivity. The company is expected to move toward all future satellites in the fleet getting VisorSats. 

Scenes of SpaceX launching NASA astronauts into orbit, moment by moment

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The Falcon 9 first stage successfully landed on a droneship in the Atlantic. It was the fifth time this individual rocket has done so, making it the current flag-bearer for launch longevity. 

The mission was previously scheduled for mid-May, but was scrubbed by tropical storm Arthur.

Watch this: Are SpaceX Starlink satellites ruining the night sky?

This was the eighth launch of a batch of 60 Starlink broadband satellites, bringing the total in orbit to nearly 500. The company hopes to send hundreds more of its orbiting routers up by the end of the year, with an ultimate goal of tens of thousands in low-Earth orbit to provide high-speed internet to almost anywhere on the planet. 

You can rewatch the SpaceX broadcast of the entire mission below: