SpaceX launches 20 Starlink satellites, including 13 direct-to-cell craft


SpaceX is scheduled to launch 20 more of its Starlink internet satellites tonight (June 4), including 13 that can beam service directly to smartphones.

The Starlink spacecraft will take flight atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida tonight at 10:16 p.m. EDT (0216 GMT on June 5).

SpaceX will webcast the launch live via its X account, beginning about five minutes before liftoff.

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

If all goes according to plan, the Falcon 9’s first stage will return to Earth about 8.5 minutes after launch, landing on the droneship Just Read the Instructions in the Atlantic Ocean.

It will be the 20th launch and landing for this particular booster, according to a SpaceX mission description. That will be just one shy of the company’s reuse record, which it set on a Starlink launch last month.

The Falcon 9’s upper stage, meanwhile, will continue carrying the 20 Starlink satellites to low Earth orbit, where they will be deployed about 52 minutes after liftoff.

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So far in 2024, SpaceX has launched 57 orbital missions, 40 of which have been dedicated to building out the huge and ever-growing Starlink megaconstellation.

SpaceX is gearing up for a much more dramatic launch this week — the fourth test flight of its Starship megarocket. That highly anticipated mission is scheduled to lift off from the company’s Starbase site in South Texas on Thursday morning (June 6).



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