SpaceX to launch 24 Starlink satellites from Florida today

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SpaceX to launch 24 Starlink satellites from Florida today
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying 24 Starlink satellites lifts off from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024.



A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying 24 Starlink satellites lifts off from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024.
(Image credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX launched 24 of its Starlink internet satellites from Florida on Sunday (Feb. 25), on the company’s 18th mission of 2024.

A Falcon 9 rocket carrying 24 Starlink spacecraft lifted off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 5:06 p.m. EST (2206 GMT).

Related: Starlink satellite train: How to see and track it in the night sky

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying 24 Starlink satellites lifts off from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024. (Image credit: SpaceX)

The Falcon 9’s first stage came back to Earth about 8.5 minutes after liftoff. It made a vertical landing on the SpaceX droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas, which was stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

It was the 13th launch and landing for this particular booster, according to a SpaceX mission description. Eight of its 12 flights to date have been Starlink missions.

The rocket’s upper stage, meanwhile, continued powering its way toward low Earth orbit, deploying the satellites there about 65 minutes after launch.

A time lapse exposure captures a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying 24 Starlink satellites as it lifts off from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024.

A time lapse exposure captures a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying 24 Starlink satellites as it lifts off from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024. (Image credit: SpaceX)

Sunday’s launch was the 18th of the year for SpaceX. And many more will follow over the coming weeks and months: The company aims to launch 144 orbital missions in 2024.

SpaceX’s most recent two launches have been milestone missions. On Tuesday (Feb. 20), the company lofted an Indonesian telecom satellite called Merah Putih 2 on the 300th successful Falcon 9 liftoff to date. 

And a Starlink launch on Thursday (Feb. 22) was the 19th flight for that Falcon 9’s first-stage booster, tying SpaceX’s rocket reuse record.

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Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with Space.com and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, “Out There,” was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.

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