Constellation of Starlink satellites grows with latest SpaceX launch from Florida

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Constellation of Starlink satellites grows with latest SpaceX launch from Florida

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying 23 Starlink satellites flies past the moon from Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on Thursday. Photo by Joe Marino/UPI

1 of 3 | A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying 23 Starlink satellites flies past the moon from Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on Thursday. Photo by Joe Marino/UPI | License Photo

April 18 (UPI) — SpaceX launched a cluster of 23 satellites into low-Earth orbit Thursday, the 334th launch of the company’s Starlink Internet satellites and the 268th time a reusable booster rocket has been used.

The launch from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida occurred at 6:40 p.m. EDT.

The booster used in Thursday’s launch settled on the drone A Shortfall of Gravitas in the Atlantic Ocean 20 minutes after the launch. It was SpaceX’s 40th launch and landing of 2024.

And this was the seventh launch and landing for this booster rocket, according to a SpaceX mission description.

Two of the rocket’s previous six flights were used to power the missions that sent astronauts to the International Space Station. Those were the Ax-2 and Ax-3 missions, which launched in May 2023 and January of this year.

Twenty-six of the 39 orbital missions that SpaceX has launched so far this year have been carrying satellites that add to the Starlink Internet service constellation. It currently consists of more than 5,760 operational satellites, according to astrophysicist and satellite tracker Jonathan McDowell.

SpaceX is also working on a megarocket that is being designed to carry people and cargo to the moon and Mars, the company has said. It performed a test launch of that rocket on March 14th, the third test flight overall.

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