WASHINGTON — SpaceX launched the first 60 satellites for an internet constellation that could ultimately number 12,000 on a Falcon 9 rocket Thursday night.
The rocket took off from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 10:30 p.m. Eastern, and deployed the satellites into a low Earth orbit a little over an hour later.
SpaceX previously planned the launch for early May, but the mission was pushed back due to knock-on delays from an earlier resupply mission to the International Space Station that had its own schedule slips. Upper-level winds delayed the Starlink launch again last week, as did additional time SpaceX elected to take for software checks on the satellites.
The 60 satellites mark the beginning of SpaceX’s deployment of a global internet megaconstellation intended to generate more revenue to fuel the company’s interplanetary ambitions.
Each Starlink satellite launched May 23 weighs roughly 227 kilograms. Collectively they are expected to deliver 1 terabit per second of usable capacity, and 2.5 to 3 terabits per second of total capacity.
SpaceX landed the booster that launched the satellites 9 minutes after liftoff on the droneship “Of Course I Still Love You,” in the Atlantic Ocean. The same Falcon 9 ...