SpaceX launched a new batch of its Starlink broadband satellites into orbit early Sunday morning (May 14) and landed a rocket in the sea in the company’s latest successful mission.
A Falcon 9 rocket topped with 56 Starlink spacecraft lifted off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida Sunday at 1:03 a.m. EDT (0503 GMT).
Related: Starlink Satellite Train: How to see in the night sky
The first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket returned to Earth 8.5 minutes after liftoff, landing aboard the SpaceX drone, Just Read the Instructions, which was stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. It will mark the 11th launch and landing of this particular booster, according to the SpaceX mission description.
Meanwhile, the Falcon 9 upper stage carried 56 Starlink satellites into Earth orbit. All 56 devices are scheduled to be deployed approximately 65 minutes after launch.
SpaceX has now launched nearly 4,400 satellites for Starlink, the company’s massive and ever-growing broadband pool. More than 4,000 of those spacecraft are currently active, According to astrophysicist and satellite tracker Jonathan McDowell (Opens in a new tab).
The Sunday morning launch was the 29th Falcon 9 flight of the year and the 31st orbital mission overall for SpaceX in 2023. The other two orbital flights were launched by SpaceX’s powerful Falcon Heavy rocket.
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