SpaceX launches 46 Starlink satellites

TEHRAN, Jul. 11 (MNA) – SpaceX launched 46 satellites and landed the returning rocket on a ship at sea on Sunday.

A two-stage Falcon 9 rocket topped with 46 of SpaceX's Starlink internet satellites lifted off from California's Vandenberg Space Force Base on Sunday at 9:39 p.m. EDT (6:39 p.m. local California time; 0139 GMT on July 11), Space.Com reported.

About 8.5 minutes after liftoff, the Falcon 9's first stage came back to Earth and landed on the SpaceX drone ship, Of Course, I Still Love You, which was stationed in the Pacific Ocean.

It was the sixth launch and landing for this Falcon 9 first stage. The booster also helped loft the Earth-observation satellite Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich, NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test mission, and three Starlink batches, SpaceX said in a mission description.

The Falcon 9's upper stage, meanwhile, deployed the 46 Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit 63 minutes after liftoff as planned, SpaceX announced via Twitter.

Sunday evening's launch was the 29th orbital mission of the year for SpaceX and the 17th dedicated to Starlink, the company's huge internet-satellite constellation. 

SpaceX has launched more than 2,750 Starlink satellites(opens in new tab) to date, and the number will continue to grow for the foreseeable future. The company already has the approval to launch 12,000 Starlink craft, and it has applied to an international regulator for permission to loft up to 30,000 more on top of that.


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