CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX expanded its constellation of low Earth orbit satellites on Saturday with the launch of 53 Starlink satellites from Florida.
The Falcon 9 rocket took off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station around 7:19 AM EST. It deployed the satellites within 16 minutes.
The rocket’s reusable first stage, which has been used for multiple launches, including the first crewed test flight of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, successfully returned and landed on the “Just Read the Instructions” droneship in the Atlantic Ocean.
SpaceX is building Starlink, a global satellite-based internet network that SpaceX built for many years in order to offer internet access to the underserved parts of the world.
SpaceX has launched four astronauts from Houston to the International Space Station. This includes the 600th individual to go into space within 60 years.
It took 21 hours for the flight from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center to reach the glittering outpost.
The astronauts got emotional when they first spotted the space station from 20 miles (32 kilometers) out, calling it “a pretty glorious sight.”
The crew was welcomed by three astronauts instead of the seven preferred.
That’s because SpaceX brought four of them back on Monday, after the launch of their replacements kept getting delayed.
This new crew will stay at the space station for six months and host two visiting tourist groups.
Russia will launch its first spacecraft in December, and SpaceX in February.
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