SpaceX has deployed 52 more Starlink satellites, as well as payloads for two other companies, aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center.
According to SpaceX, the launch at 6:56 p.m. Saturday was a success, with both satellites launched into orbit about an hour later. According to astronomers, this takes the total number of Starlink satellites in space to more than 1,600.
The rocket’s first stage was recovered and landed on a business droneship in the Atlantic Ocean for the eighth time.
The launch was the fourth Falcon 9 carrying Starlink satellites in a little over two weeks, and the ninth such launch since March 1.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX also offers rideshare services on some missions, and this one carried payloads for a radar imaging satellite for Capella Space and a satellite for Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems called a Tyvak-0130, described in government documents as “an optical spectrum astronomy observation satellite.”
According to the live webcast of the launch, company engineer Kate Tice said SpaceX “offers multiple launch opportunities” to companies that want to send payloads aloft on Starlink missions.
SpaceX also noted during the live webcast the announcement earlier this week of its partnership with Google, utilizing that firm’s cloud data centers to provide new services. SpaceX has been stressing providing high-speed Internet services to underserved areas around the world.
Beta testing is ongoing in several counties, including the United States, Austria, France and the Netherlands.