SpaceX Launches 58 Starlink Satellites

Falcon 9 lifts off on June 13, 2020. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

SpaceX launched its ninth Starlink mission on Saturday, lofting 58 Starlink and three Planet SkySat Earth observation satellites into orbit.

Falcon 9 lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in the pre-dawn darkness.

This mission marked SpaceX’s first SmallSat Rideshare Program launch. Dedicated Starlink launches usually include 60 of the satellite broadband spacecraft.

Falcon 9’s first stage previously flew on Dragon’s 19th and 20th resupply missions to the International Space Station. Following its separation from the second stage, the booster successfully landed on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship,

Half of Falcon 9’s fairing previously flew on the JCSAT-18/Kacific1 mission, and the other half previously flew on SpaceX’s third Starlink mission.

It was the third launch in 15 days for Elon Musk’s rocket company. On May 30, a Falcon 9 launched NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station aboard a Crew Dragon vehicle. On June 4, a Falcon 9 orbited 60 Starlink satellites.

SpaceX has two more launches planned for this month. On June 22, a Falcon 9 will launch another batch of Starlink satellites and two BlackSky Global spacecraft. On June 30, SpaceX will launch a Global Positioning System satellite.