A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched the latest batch of 60 Starlink satellites into orbit Sunday, and returned to Earth successfully, landing on its Of Course I Still Love You drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean, the company announced.
Sunday’s mission marked a record ninth flight and landing for this Falcon 9 booster, SpaceX said, which was part of five earlier Starlink launches and the DM-1 mission for its Crew Dragon capsule.
Deployment of 60 Starlink satellites confirmed pic.twitter.com/AMLK4R9dMn— SpaceX (@SpaceX) March 14, 2021
The satellites are part of growing Starlink constellation, which SpaceX is building to provide internet connectivity to rural areas on Earth. The company has permission to launch 12,000 satellites as part of the project, and has more than 1,000 in orbit so far.
Starlink also has some 10,000 users in the beta program it launched last year. The Starlink kit, which comes with a router and antenna, costs $499, with a monthly subscription of $99 for internet speeds between 70 and 130 Mbps. The company opened pre-orders for Starlink in the US, Canada, and UK last month, with a $99 deposit fee.
Sunday’s launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center was the second in the past few days for SpaceX, which sent another of its Falcon 9 rockets skyward from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on Thursday. That launch also brought 60 satellites into orbit. The next Starlink launch is tentatively scheduled for March 21st, from Cape Canaveral.