For the second time in 11 days, a rocket from Hawthorne-based SpaceX launched from Cape Canaveral today with a payload of broadband internet satellites.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying 58 Starlink satellites lifted off at 2:22 a.m. California time.
The first stage of the rocket landed on a barge named “Of Course I Still Love You,” floating in the Atlantic Ocean, at 2:30 a.m. for reuse in future missions. It was previously used in two SpaceX missions to send supplies to the International Space Station.
Also aboard the rocket were three Earth-imaging satellites operated by the San Francisco-based company Planet. Those satellites were included in the launch under a “rideshare program.” The three Planet SkySat satellites were deployed about 18 minutes after the launch. SpaceX confirmed the deployment of the Starlink satellites at 3 a.m.
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The mission is the ninth SpaceX launch as part of the Starlink project, which is Elon Musk’s planned worldwide broadband service, designed to offer low-cost global internet access. There are already nearly 500 Starlink satellites in orbit, with hundreds more planned.
SpaceX launched the last batch of Starlink satellites on June 3, also from Cape Canaveral.