SpaceX launched another 52 Starlink internet satellites into orbit Wednesday evening (October 5), just hours after astronauts blasted off toward NASA’s International Space Station.
The first stage of the Falcon 9 returned to Earth and landed precisely 8.5 minutes after launch aboard the SpaceX I Still Love You, which was stationed in the Pacific Ocean.
This was the fifth take-off and landing of this particular booster, According to the description of the mission of SpaceX (Opens in a new tab). The missile previously helped launch the NROL-85 and NROL-87 missions for the US National Reconnaissance Office, the German government’s Sarah-1 radar satellite, and another set of Starlink.
While the first stage of Falcon 9 came to land, the upper stage continued to make its way into orbit. 52 Starlink satellites were deployed as planned about 62 minutes after SpaceX took off Confirmed via Twitter (Opens in a new tab) Wednesday evening.
Starlink is a massive, growing building of SpaceX that broadcasts internet service to customers all over the world. SpaceX has already lifted more than 3,400 Starlink satellites so far and plans to orbit many more: the company has secured approval to launch 12,000 spacecraft and has applied for permission for up to 30,000 satellites on top of that.
Tonight’s launch was the 45th SpaceX launch of 2022 and the second from today, after Crew-5 astronaut mission for NASAwhich took off at noon EST (1600 GMT) from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
A crew of four Crew-5 is scheduled to arrive at International Space Station Thursday (October 6) 4:57 PM EDT (2057 GMT); You can watch it live here on Space.com when the time is right.
SpaceX also plans to launch another mission Thursday, sending two commercial communications satellites aloft from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 7:07 p.m. EDT (2307 GMT). You can watch it live here on Space.com, too.
Editor’s note: This story was updated at 7:35pm EST on Wednesday with news of the successful launch and rocket landing.
Mike Wall is the author of “Abroad (Opens in a new tab)Book (Great Grand Publishing House, 2018; illustrated by Carl Tate), a book on the search for extraterrestrials. Follow him on Twitter Tweet embed (Opens in a new tab). Follow us on Twitter Tweet embed (Opens in a new tab) or on Facebook (Opens in a new tab).