SpaceX launches 60 Starlink satellites and lands rocket in dazzling nighttime liftoff

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX successfully launched a new batch of 60 Starlink internet satellites into orbit late Wednesday (June 3) and nailed a rocket landing at sea to top off the mission.

The launch is the second in five days for the California-based rocket builder. On Saturday (May 30), a different Falcon 9 rocket sent NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley toward the International Space Station aboard a Crew Dragon capsule, kicking of SpaceX’s landmark Demo-2 mission. The duo docked with the orbiting lab about 19 hours later and will remain there from one to four months.

In stark contrast to Saturday’s shiny new booster, today’s mission featured a veteran member of SpaceX’s rocket fleet. The extra-sooty Falcon 9 — whose first stage had already flown four times before today’s mission — lifted off at 9:25 p.m. EDT (0125 GMT on June 4) from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station here in Florida, its white exterior scorched by its previous trips through the atmosphere.