SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from pad 40 Tuesday at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Credit: William Harwood/CBS News
A Falcon 9 rocket loaded with 58 more broadband relay nodes for SpaceX’s Starlink Internet network took off Tuesday from Cape Canaveral, bringing the total number of Starlink craft launched since May 2019 to 653 satellites.
The reusable Falcon 9 booster that powered the 58 Starlink satellites toward space was making its sixth flight, setting a new record for SpaceX’s liquid-fueled rocket family.
The fresh Starlink craft launched Tuesday widened SpaceX’s lead in fielding the largest fleet of satellites, and also added to the constellation of Earth-imaging satellites owned by Planet. Planet’s satellite fleet is the second-biggest after SpaceX’s Starlink network.
Three commercial SkySat Earth observation satellites hitched a ride into orbit on the Falcon 9 rocket, joining around 150 other small spacecraft in the Planet’s fleet.
The mission began with a fiery takeoff from Cape Canaveral’s Complex 40 launch pad at 10:31:16 a.m. EDT (1431:16 GMT) Tuesday, kicking off SpaceX’s 14th Falcon launch of the year, and the 99th flight of the company’s Falcon rocket family since 2006.
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket climbs away from pad 40 Tuesday. Credit: ...