SpaceX has launched another 60 Starlink broadband Internet satellites. The launch took off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 7:29 a.m. EST (4:29 p.m. Pacific time) after being delayed three times because of frustrations for various reasons — twice because of the weather and once because of abnormal sensor readings. This is the 12th Starlink mission to date, which means that more than 700 satellites in the SpaceX constellation have now been launched.
The mission included the reuse of the Falcon 9 booster class, which had previously been on two separate missions, including the Crew Dragon Demo-2 launch mission carrying SpaceX’s first human crew, NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley.
SpaceX also successfully recovered the booster during the mission and controlled the landing on the “Of Course I Love Love You” unmanned ship at sea. Attempts were also made to recycle two halves of the shroud using different recycling vessels – half of which were caught by a ship as planned, while the second part fell into the ocean without being caught, but SpaceX is still trying to fish it out.
SpaceX is currently conducting internal testing of Starlink to optimize latency and connectivity. The company says it has achieved down-speeds of up to 100 megabits per second and very low latency. The company plans to expand testing to the public starting later this year.
The deployment of these Starlink satellites also went ahead as planned about an hour after the rocket lifted off.