Delayed a year by a launch failure, the coronavirus pandemic and a stretch of stiff upper level winds this summer, an Italian-made Vega rocket vaulted into orbit from French Guiana on Wednesday night and deployed 53 small satellites from 13 countries to punctuate a flawless return to flight mission.
Another set of Starlink Internet satellites launched Tuesday from Cape Canaveral aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Powered by a reusable first stage booster making its sixth flight, the Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 10:31 a.m. EDT (1431 GMT). Three SkySat Earth-imaging satellites for Planet accompanied SpaceX’s 58 Starlink relay stations into orbit.
The last planned batch of high-resolution SkySat commercial Earth-viewing reconnaissance satellites owned by Planet will accompany 58 Starlink broadband relay stations on a climb into orbit Tuesday from Cape Canaveral on top of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, adding to the world’s two largest commercial satellite fleets.