Mother Nature has finally agreed to help SpaceX's latest Starlink mission. After five days of terrible weather, SpaceX launched 54 Starlink broadband satellites from Florida's Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on Sunday (Sept. 18) at 8:18 p.m. EDT (0018 GMT on Sept. 19).
The Starlink Group 4-34 satellites were launched into low Earth orbit by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and deployed as planned(opens in new tab) around 15.5 minutes after liftoff. However, the rocket's first stage returned to Earth and landed on SpaceX's Just Reading the Instructions drone ship, which was stationed in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida. According to SpaceX, it was the sixth launch and landing for this specific rocket.
Starlink is SpaceX's broadband satellite constellation. So far, the business has launched over 3,200 satellites into space. SpaceX is aggressively growing its constellation, with launches occurring almost every week, if not more frequently. Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, has stated that he hopes to launch up to 100 SpaceX flights in 2023. The objective is, in part, to get Starlink's service up and running as quickly as possible for the company's remote clients.
SpaceX is already approved by regulators to launch 12,000 Starlink satellites. In addition, the business has filed to an international regulatory body to launch another 30,000 satellites into space. The corporation is also broadening the sorts of consumers who can use Starlink services. SpaceX and T-Mobile recently announced a partnership to beam internet service directly to mobile phones. In addition, SpaceX announced an agreement with Royal Caribbean to provide Starlink aboard cruise ships in order to improve Internet connectivity at sea.