SpaceX launches Falcon 9 rocket on Starlink mission from Cape Canaveral

A Falcon 9 rock climbs above Florida’s Space Coast on the Starlink 6-48 mission on April 10, 2024. Image: Spaceflight Now

Update 1:58 a.m. EDT: SpaceX launched the Starlink 6-48 mission.

SpaceX launched its latest batch of Starlink satellites during a mission from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The Falcon 9 flight was the company’s 24th dedicated Starlink launch in 2024.

Liftoff of the Starlink 6-48 mission from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station happened at 1:40 a.m. EDT (0540 UTC).

The Falcon 9 first stage booster supporting this mission, tail number B1083 in the SpaceX fleet, will be launching for a second time. Its first flight supported the launch of the Crew-8 astronaut mission to the International Space Station on March 3, 2024.

About 8.5 minutes after liftoff, B1083 landed on the SpaceX droneship, ‘Just Read the Instructions.’ This marked the 77th landing on JRTI and the 295th booster landing to date.

According to astronomer and expert spacecraft tracker, Jonathan McDowell, as of Apr. 7 there were 5,765 Starlink satellites in low Earth orbit. The midnight mission added another 23 satellites to that running total. With the addition of Albania this week, SpaceX’s Starlink internet service is now available in 74 countries.

During the 39th Annual Space Symposium being hosted in Colorado, space habitation company Vast further strengthened its ties to SpaceX by announcing that its forthcoming commercial space station, Haven-1, will be outfitted with Starlink internet service.

“If you need to provide high-speed, low-latency, continuous internet connectivity on a space station in orbit in 2025, SpaceX Starlink is the only option,” said Max Haot, Vast’s CEO in a statement. “We expect their network and technology leading position to continue and accelerate over time, which is why we are excited to have the chance to partner with SpaceX on deploying their first laser connectivity for a space station.”

The Starlink service will go beyond Haven-1 to include “future Vast platforms… which the company plans to bid for in NASA’s upcoming commercial low Earth orbit destinations competition.”

The news comes a year after Vast announced its agreement with SpaceX to fly two astronaut missions to the the Haven-1 space station after its launch aboard a Falcon 9 rocket in 2025.