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SpaceX Launches 23 Starlink Spacecraft From Florida

The Starlink launches never seem to stop.

Today, April 17, at 5:26 p.m. EDT (2126 GMT), a Falcon 9 rocket carrying 23 of SpaceX’s Starlink broadband satellites took out from NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.

As scheduled, the first stage of the Falcon 9 returned to Earth around 8.5 minutes after launch. It made a vertical landing on SpaceX’s droneship, Just Read the Instructions, positioned in the Atlantic Ocean.

Many of us were not present to witness that historic moment in real time as SpaceX’s livestream abruptly stopped just three minutes after liftoff, a first for the business.

As per the SpaceX mission description, this was the booster’s 12th launch and landing. That is eight fewer than the company’s record for reuse, which it established last week on a Starlink mission.

The 23 Starlink satellites were still being transported towards low Earth orbit (LEO) by the upper stage of the Falcon 9. If all goes according to plan, it will deploy them there roughly 65 minutes after liftoff.

SpaceX launched its 39th orbital flight of the year this evening, marking the 26th of 2024 dedicated to expanding the Starlink network.

There are already about 5,700 operating satellites in the megaconstellation, and that figure will rise significantly in the next years.

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