September 22, 2020

Photos: Falcon 9 lifts off on fourth dedicated launch for Starlink network


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The 80th flight of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket delivered 60 more satellites to orbit for the company’s Starlink broadband network Wednesday after launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The 229-foot-tall (70-meter) Falcon 9 rocket fired up at 9:06:49 a.m. EST (1406:49 GMT) Wednesday and climbed away from from Cape Canaveral’s Complex 40 launch pad. An incandescent flame from the rocket’s nine Merlin 1D main engines — collectively generating 1.7 million pounds of thrust — trailed more than 20 stories behind the launcher.

A roar from the Falcon 9’s engines reached spectators a few seconds later as the rocket arced toward the northeast into clear skies over Florida’s Space Coast.

About an hour later, the Falcon 9’s second stage deployed the 60 Starlink satellites — each with a mass of about a quarter-ton — into an orbit 180 miles (290 kilometers) above Earth.

Wednesday’s mission was the third SpaceX launch of the year, and the fourth SpaceX launch dedicated to carrying Starlink satellites. With the successful launch Wednesday, SpaceX has delivered 240 Starlink satellites to orbit of a planned initial block of more than 1,500 broadband relay craft to provide global Internet service.

Read our full story for details on the mission.

Credit: Stephen Clark / Spaceflight Now
Credit: SpaceX
Credit: SpaceX
Credit: Stephen Clark / Spaceflight Now
Credit: SpaceX
Credit: SpaceX
Credit: Stephen Clark / Spaceflight Now
Credit: Stephen Clark / Spaceflight Now

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