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SpaceX launches 20 Starlink satellites, including 13 direct-to-cell craft

SpaceX launched another batch of its Starlink internet satellites on Tuesday night (June 4), including 13 that can beam service directly to smartphones.

The Starlink spacecraft took flight atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida tonight at 10:16 p.m. EDT (0216 GMT on June 5).

The Falcon 9’s first stage returned to Earth about 8.5 minutes after launch as planned, landing on the SpaceX droneship Just Read the Instructions in the Atlantic Ocean.

It was the 20th launch and landing for this particular booster, according to a SpaceX mission description. That’s just one shy of the company’s reuse record, which it set on a Starlink launch last month.

The Falcon 9’s upper stage, meanwhile, continued carrying the 20 Starlink satellites to low Earth orbit, where they were deployed about 52 minutes after liftoff.

So far in 2024, SpaceX has launched 58 orbital missions, 41 of which have been dedicated to building out the huge and ever-growing Starlink megaconstellation.

SpaceX is gearing up for a much more dramatic launch this week — the fourth test flight of its Starship megarocket. That highly anticipated mission is scheduled to lift off from the company’s Starbase site in South Texas on Thursday morning (June 6). Space

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