A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket overcame a rare in-flight engine failure soon after launch from Florida’s Space Coast Wednesday to place 60 satellites in orbit for the company’s Starlink Internet network. Elon Musk, SpaceX’s founder and CEO, promised a “thorough investigation” of the engine failure before the next Falcon 9 launch.
SpaceX successfully deployed 60 more Starlink satellites into orbit Wednesday following launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 8:16 a.m. EDT (1216 GMT). One of the nine Merlin engines on the Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage shut down prematurely during ascent, but the launcher was still able to reach the mission’s targeted orbit.
Building on development for NASA’s commercial crew program, Space Adventures announced an agreement Tuesday with SpaceX to fly up to four paying space tourists on a standalone mission aboard a Crew Dragon spacecraft in late 2021 or 2022 that could reach an altitude two-to-three times higher than the International Space Station.