A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches a batch of 56 Starlink satellites at 4:01 PM from Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida, on Wednesday. The first stage booster previously had been used in the launch of the Crew 5 mission to the International Space Station in October. It has been used in four launches. Photo by Joe Marino/UPI | License Photo
March 29 (UPI) — SpaceX‘s 21st launch of the year sent 56 Starlink satellites into orbit from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on Wednesday afternoon.
A Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at about 4 p.m., carrying 56 satellites into low-Earth orbit. The first stage booster successfully returned and landed on the “Just Read the Instructions” drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean about eight minutes after launch.
The first stage booster previously had been used in the launch of the Crew 5 mission to the International Space Station in October. It has been used in four launches.
The Starlink satellites deployed from the rocket shortly after 5 p.m., the company confirmed on Twitter.
The satellites are Starlink’s V1.5 model, rather than the V2 Mini model which ran into an issue after being launched a month ago, according to Spaceflight Now. Founder and CEO Elon Musk said the issue was discovered after launch when the satellites did not continue to increase their altitude, but some could still be reused in the future.
In total, 4,217 Starlink satellites have been put into orbit since 2018. According to Space.com, SpaceX has permission to launch 12,000 Starlink satellites into orbit and has requested permission to launch 30,000 more.