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SpaceX launches two rockets from two coasts in Starlink doubleheader

SpaceX launched two more batches of its Starlink internet satellites overnight on doubleheader liftoffs from both U.S. coasts.

A Falcon 9 rocket topped with 23 Starlink spacecraft launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida on Sunday.

Another Falcon 9 carried 22 more Starlinks skyward from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on Monday.

As expected, both Falcon 9’s first stages came back to Earth about 8.5 minutes after liftoff for a landing on a SpaceX drone ship stationed at sea.

It was the 18th launch and landing for the booster flying from KSC and was the ninth for the one launching from Vandenberg, according to SpaceX. The company’s reuse record is 19 launches, set by a Falcon 9 just last month.

The Falcon 9 upper stages, meanwhile, continued climbing into low Earth orbit to deploy each batch of Starlink satellites a little over an hour after their liftoffs.

These were already the eighth and ninth launches of the year for SpaceX, which has said it’s aiming for 144 orbital missions in 2024.

In keeping with that ambitious plan, there’s another SpaceX mission right around the corner: A Falcon 9 is scheduled to launch Northrop Grumman’s robotic Cygnus cargo craft toward the International Space Station on Tuesday.

Sunday’s Starlink doubleheader began on a somber anniversary. On Jan. 28, 1986, NASA’s space shuttle Challenger broke apart less than two minutes after liftoff, killing all seven astronauts on board. Space

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