A SpaceX Falcon 9 launched 60 Starlink broadband satellites into orbit on Wednesday evening from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The satellites separated from the booster’s second stage 15 minutes after launch. SpaceX has launched 482 Starlink satellites into Earth orbit.
Elon Musk’s company has received approval from the Federal Communications Commission to launch nearly 12,000 satellites to provide broadband services to any location on Earth.
Satellites on this launch are equipped with visors that will be deployed to limit their reflectivity. Astronomers has complained that the Starlink constellation has interfered with Earth-based observations.
The Falcon’s 9 first stage successfully landed on the “Just Read the Instructions” droneship in the Atlantic Ocean. The flight marked the fifth use of the first stage.
The recovered stage previously supported the Telstar 18 VANTAGE mission in September 2018, the Iridium-8 mission in January 2019, and two separate Starlink missions in May 2019 and in January 2020.
SpaceX said it would attempt to recover the payload fairings using the Ms. Tree and Ms. Chief recovery ships. The company has not said whether the recovery effort was successful.