SpaceX has launched yet another flight of 60 of its Starlink broadband internet satellites. The launch took off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 7:29 AM EDT (4:29 AM PDT) this morning, after having been delayed three times earlier due to scrubs — twice because of weather, and once because of an unusual sensor reading. This is the twelfth Starlink mission to date, and it means that more than 700 of the SpaceX satellites have now been launched.
The mission included reuse of a Falcon 9 booster stage that had previously flown on two separate missions, including the Crew Dragon Demo-2 launch that carried SpaceX’s first human crew — NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley. SpaceX successfully recovered the booster with a controlled landing on its “Of Course I Still Love You” drone ship at sea for this mission, too. A recovery of the fairing halves using different recovery ships was also attempted — with one half caught by a ship as planned, while the second missed and fell into the ocean (SpaceX will also attempt to recover that part).
SpaceX is currently in private beta testing of Starlink, optimizing for latency and connection. The company says that it has achieved downlink speeds of up to 100 megabits per second, with very low latency, as well. It intends to broaden the beta to the public beginning later this year.
The deployment of these Starlink satellites also went as planned, around an hour following the rocket lift-off.