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 ground teams at Cape Canaveral transferred a Falcon 9 rocket to launch pad 40 and rotated the booster vertical Monday for a preflight hold-down firing, ahead of a liftoff scheduled for Wednesday night carrying 60 satellites into orbit for the company’s planned Starlink broadband constellation.
Singed and blackened from three fiery trips to the edge of space and back, a Falcon 9 rocket returned to Cape Canaveral on Sunday after a mission last that week carried the Israeli Beresheet moon lander into orbit, ready for inspections before attempting a fourth — and likely final — launch this spring.