CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – After the fog cleared over Cape Canaveral Monday a Falcon 9 rocket blasted off into space carrying another batch of SpaceX satellites as part of the company’s goal to create a space-based internet.
Falcon 9 launched at 10:05 a.m. minutes after the fog appeared to part ways revealing a mostly clear blue sky. Sixty Starlink satellites were jam-packed inside the rocket’s nose cone, bringing SpaceX’s total in space to 300.
Unlike the previous four batches of Starlink satellites, which were deployed into a circular orbit in Low-Earth orbit, the spacecraft launched Monday were deployed into an elliptical, or oval orbit.
SpaceX confirmed all satellites were successfully deployed in orbit.
In a raw event, SpaceX did stick the landing with its rocket booster. The rocket booster was supposed to make a controlled landing on the “Of Course I Love You” droneship in the Atlantic Ocean but video from SpaceX showed the rocket splash into the sea.
The landing would have marked the 50th booster landing for the company.
The Falcon 9 booster previously launched and landed on three other missions. SpaceX saves millions in launch costs by re-flying rocket hardware.
The company also attempted to catch the two pieces of the rocket’s nose cone, called fairings, after liftoff. Two boats — named Ms. Tree and Ms. Chief — with giant nets are waiting in the Atlantic to catch the hardware.
SpaceX hasn’t said if the boats made the catches.
This was the fifth mission dedicated to SpaceX’s Starlink constellation. The company and CEO Elon Musk are working to create a space-based internet using satellites that beam internet signal down to Earth, even to remote areas.
SpaceX is now operating more spacecraft in low-Earth orbit than any other company.
Launching 60 satellites at a time SpaceX plans to send up another round of Starlink spacecraft every few weeks, eventually, operating a fleet of thousands.
Rocket: Falcon 9
Payload: 60 Starlink satellites
Launch time: 10:05 a.m.
Where: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Launch Complex 40
Landing and recovery attempts: Booster landing on Of Course I Still Love You. Fairing catch attempt with Ms. Tree and Ms. Chief.
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