WASHINGTON: U.S. private space company SpaceX successfully launched its 12th Starlink mission on Thursday, carrying 60 Starlink satellites to orbit.
A Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 8:46 a.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
Following stage separation, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 first stage landed on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.
The Starlink satellites were deployed approximately 15 minutes after liftoff, said SpaceX.
Starlink will deliver high-speed broadband internet to locations where access has been unreliable, expensive, or completely unavailable, according to SpaceX.
Starlink is targeting service in the Northern United States and Canada in 2020, rapidly expanding to near global coverage of the populated world by 2021.
SpaceX planned to launch into space about 12,000 Starlink satellites by 2024, and has revealed a bigger plan to launch 30,000 additional ones, bringing the total to 42,000.
Each satellite weighs about 260 kilograms and features a compact, flat-panel design that minimizes volume, allowing for a dense launch stack to take full advantage of the launch capabilities of the Falcon 9 rocket, according to SpaceX.