SpaceX just launched a Falcon 9 rocket for the 100th time, delivering 60 Starlink internet satellites into orbit



Elon Musk et al. around each other: SpaceX founder Elon Musk. Joe Raedle/Getty Images


© Joe Raedle/Getty Images
SpaceX founder Elon Musk. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

  • A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket delivered 60 Starlink satellites into orbit on Tuesday night, marking the rocket’s seventh successful launch.
  • The launch was also SpaceX’s 16th Starlink mission, its 100th flight of a Falcon 9 rocket, and its 23rd flight in 2020 — the most flights it has ever achieved in one year.
  • SpaceX’s two-stage Falcon 9 rocket took off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 9:13 p.m. on Tuesday. The booster then returned to Earth and landed on the “Of Course I Still Love You” drone ship.
  • Elon Musk’s space company now has at least 830 Starlink satellites in orbit. It plans to surround the Earth with up to 42,000 satellites beaming down high-speed internet.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

SpaceX successfully launched one of its Falcon 9 rockets on Tuesday night for a record-breaking seventh time, delivering 60 satellites to orbit for its Starlink satellite-internet service.

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The launch marked SpaceX’s 100th flight of a Falcon 9 rocket and its 16th Starlink mission. The goal of Starlink is to envelop Earth with a network of 42,000 satellites beaming down high-speed internet.

SpaceX, the aerospace company founded by Elon Musk, has launched at least 830 working Starlink satellites into orbit. 

The two-stage Falcon 9 rocket took off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 9:13 p.m. on Tuesday.

Around nine minutes later, the Falcon 9 booster’s first stage came back down to Earth, landing on SpaceX’s drone ship called “Of Course I Still Love You,” which was positioned northeast of Cape Canaveral in the Atlantic Ocean.

“For the seventh time, this Falcon has landed,” SpaceX engineer Kate Tice said in the live launch broadcast.

Video: Watch: Elon Musk’s SpaceX Launches 4 Astronauts To ISS In NASA Mission (Newsweek)

Watch: Elon Musk’s SpaceX Launches 4 Astronauts To ISS In NASA Mission

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The rocket’s seventh successful landing is the most SpaceX has achieved for any individual Falcon 9 rocket.

The Falcon 9 rocket, which is known for its reusability, previously flew on the Telstar 18 VANTAGE mission in September 2018, the Iridium-8 mission in January 2019, and four Starlink missions across 2019 and 2020.

This mission was the 23rd SpaceX launch of 2020, the most flights the company has carried out in one year. Its previous best was 21 in 2018.

Read more: A Texas superintendent reveals how — and why — he got SpaceX to turn his rural school district into a Starlink satellite-internet laboratory

On October 18, SpaceX kicked off its public beta test for Starlink, called the “Better Than Nothing Beta.” The company began testing the service in the northern US and southern Canada, and plans to launch a full public beta test in North America soon.

Starlink’s website says it wants coverage in the US and Canada by the end of 2020 and “near global coverage of the populated word” by 2021.

A subscription to SpaceX’s Starlink service costs $99 a month, plus an additional $499 for the Starlink Kit, which includes a mounting tripod, a WiFi router, and a terminal to connect to the satellites. 

The public beta is giving some users blistering download speeds of more than 160 Megabits per second, including in rural Montana.

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