SpaceX launches 53 Starlink satellites, lands Falcon 9 rocket at sea after record-tying 12th flight
The veteran Falcon 9 has now flown a dozen flights and marked landing number 111 for SpaceX.
In a record-tying 12th flight for its Falcon 9 rocket, SpaceX blasted more than four dozen new Starlink broadband satellites into orbit before daybreak on Friday.
The two-stage Falcon 9 rocket, topped with 53 SpaceX Starlink internet satellites
lighted up the predawn sky over Florida as it launched from NASA's Kennedy Space Center's Pad 39A at 5:42 a.m. EDT on Friday (0942 GMT).
This was the 12th mission for this Falcon 9's first stage, tying a company record for reuse. So far, SpaceX has flown three Falcon 9 boosters 12 times.
And Friday's launch vehicle will likely fly again as SpaceX successfully landed the booster on its droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas
which was stationed off the Florida coast in the Atlantic Ocean. It was the 111th successful landing for SpaceX.
Starlink is SpaceX's massive and rapidly expanding broadband satellite fleet
To date, SpaceX has launched over 2,400 Starlink spacecraft, many of them this year; ten of SpaceX's 18 launches in 2022 are dedicated Starlink missions.
During live launch commentary, SpaceX sales manager Ian McCullough revealed that Friday's launch was the 45th Starlink mission since the programme began in 2019.
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