SpaceX launches 15 Starlink satellites, lands rocket at sea (Image Credit: Space.com)
SpaceX launched 15 more of its Starlink internet satellites Monday night (Aug. 7) and landed the returning rocket on a ship at sea.
The Falcon 9’s first stage came back to Earth as planned, landing on the SpaceX drone ship Of Course I Still Love You about 9.5 minutes after launch.
It was the fifth launch and landing for this particular booster, according to a SpaceX mission description.
The Falcon 9’s upper stage, meanwhile, will continue hauling the 15 Starlink satellites to low Earth orbit, where they will be deployed about 14.5 minutes after liftoff. However, it may take a bit longer than that to get confirmation of deployment success, SpaceX representatives said during Monday’s launch webcast.
This was the second Starlink launch for SpaceX in as many days. A Falcon 9 lofted 22 of the satellites from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on Sunday night (Aug. 6).
SpaceX has now launched 4,918 Starlink spacecraft to date, and more than 4,500 of them are currently functional, according to satellite tracker and astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell.
Editor’s note: This story was updated at 12:15 a.m. ET on Aug. 8 with news of successful launch and rocket landing.