SpaceX’s first launch since August took off from Cape Canaveral at 9:56 a.m. EST (1456 GMT) to carry 60 broadband satellites into orbit for the company’s Starlink network. The Starlink satellites rode together on top of a Falcon 9 rocket with a previously-flown first stage and a reused payload fairing.
New satellites for SpaceX’s Starlink broadband network set for launch Monday from Cape Canaveral will debut several performance and safety upgrades, but they do not include changes to reduce the brightness of the satellites, a modification SpaceX says it will introduce on future Starlink craft to mitigate their impacts on ground-based astronomy.
SpaceX test-fired a Falcon 9 rocket Tuesday at Cape Canaveral for the company’s next launch, which is set for takeoff Monday at around 9:56 a.m. EST (1456 GMT). The rocket will launch with the next batch of SpaceX’s Starlink broadband satellites, the company’s first launch since early August. There is an 80 percent chance of favorable weather for launch Monday.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine visited SpaceX’s California rocket factory Thursday, toured the sprawling facility with founder Elon Musk and told reporters he is optimistic the company will be ready to launch the first piloted test flight of its Crew Dragon spaceship in the first quarter of next year.
Images taken inside SpaceX facilities at Cape Canaveral and released by NASA Thursday show the Crew Dragon capsule and Falcon 9 booster assigned to an in-flight abort test of the new human-rated spaceship later this year, a prerequisite before astronauts climb aboard for a mission to the International Space Station.