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SpaceX launches 23 Starlink satellites from California in 2nd leg of spaceflight doubleheader

SpaceX launched 23 more of its Starlink internet satellites from California on Monday (March 11), in the second leg of a spaceflight doubleheader.

A Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Starlink spacecraft lifted off from Vandenberg Space Force Base at 12:09 a.m. EDT (0409 GMT or 9:09 p.m. PDT March 10 local time).

It was the second Starlink mission in a little over four hours; the company earlier launched 23 of the broadband craft from Florida’s Space Coast.

Related: Starlink satellite train: How to see and track it in the night sky

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying 23 Starlink satellites launches from Complex 4 East at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on Monday, March 11, 2024 (EDT). (Image credit: SpaceX via X)

If all goes to plan, the Falcon 9’s first stage will come back to Earth about 8.25 minutes after liftoff, making a vertical landing on the SpaceX droneship Of Course I Still Love You, which will be stationed in the Pacific Ocean.

It will be the 17th launch and landing for this particular booster, according to a SpaceX mission description. Eleven of its 16 missions to date have been Starlink flights.

The Falcon 9’s upper stage will continue heading toward low Earth orbit (LEO), eventually deploying the 23 Starlink satellites there about 62 minutes after launch.

The first stage from a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lands on the droneship “Of Course I Still Love You” in the Pacific Ocean on Monday, March 11, 2024. (Image credit: SpaceX via X)

Starlink is SpaceX’s broadband megaconstellation, which beams internet service to people around the world.

There are nearly 5,500 operational Starlink craft in LEO, but that number will continue to go up for the foreseeable future. SpaceX already has permission to deploy 12,000 Starlink satellites, and it has applied for approval for about 30,000 more on top of that.

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