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SpaceX Launches 22 Starlink Satellites, Lands Rocket at Sea

SpaceX launched 22 of its Starlink internet satellites into orbit on Thursday night, August 31, and brought the rocket back for a landing at sea.

The Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Starlink spacecraft lifted off from Florida's Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 10:21 p.m. EDT (0221 GMT on September 1). The Falcon 9's first stage returned to Earth about 8.5 minutes after liftoff and landed on the SpaceX drone ship A Shortfall of Gravitas, which was stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

This was the seventh launch and landing for this particular booster. SpaceX has now reused more than 100 rocket boosters, making it the leader in the industry.

The Falcon 9's upper stage continued on to orbit, where it deployed the 22 Starlink satellites about 65 minutes after liftoff. The satellites will now begin a process of raising their orbits and deploying their solar panels.

Once they are operational, the 22 Starlink satellites will join SpaceX's growing constellation of internet satellites. The company has already launched more than 5,000 Starlink satellites, and it plans to launch thousands more in the coming years.

Starlink is designed to provide high-speed internet access to people in rural and remote areas. The service is currently in beta testing, but SpaceX has said that it will be available to more users in the coming months.

The launch of the 22 Starlink satellites was the second of two SpaceX launches scheduled for Thursday night. The first launch, which was carrying 13 satellites for the U.S. Space Force, was scrubbed due to an undisclosed issue. SpaceX has rescheduled that launch for Friday morning.

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