SpaceX has a constellation of more than 4,000 satellites in low-Earth orbit, providing internet to Starlink customers around the globe. Space-based internet can provide signals almost anywhere, including remote areas such as Antarctica. SpaceX is also offering service for RVs and marine vessels.
Starlink has been beneficial after natural disasters, including the brush fires in Hawaii.
Many areas in Maui where the fires destroyed infrastructure still do not have communications restored more than a week after the deadly fires. SpaceX said it sent 450 Starlink kits to more than 40 organizations on the island helping with recovery efforts. Starlink users in Hawaii have reportedly been opening up their Starlink WiFi to help people in need.
After Hurricane Ian made landfall last year off the coast of Southwest Florida, bringing deadly storm surge and destruction, Starlink was set up around the Fort Myers area during the initial search and recovery efforts.
On Wednesday, SpaceX launched 22 Starlink satellites on a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Base. The launch window opened at 8:14 p.m. ET but SpaceX opted for one of four additional backup launch times. Falcon 9 lifted off at 11:36 p.m. ET
The launch happened despite Florida's soggy forecast.
Florida faces rounds of showers and thunderstorms throughout the week, with up to 5 inches of rain by Sunday. SpaceX was able to find a launch window between a broad coverage of thunderstorms.
The launch marked the 13th for the Falcon 9 booster. After separating from the second stage, the first stage booster returned to land on a SpaceX droneship in the Atlantic Ocean.
California launch pushed to Friday
SpaceX was targeting early Thursday to launch 21 Starlink satellites from California but delayed the launch to Friday. SpaceX is now targeting Friday at 12:30 a.m. PT to launch the Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base.
SpaceX said it has an additional launch opportunity at 1:20 a.m. PT and additional backup launch times on Saturday at 12:08 a.m. and 12:59 a.m. PT.
The rocket booster supporting the launch has flown 14 times previously, including launching two NASA astronaut missions. After launch, SpaceX plans to land the booster on a droneship in the Pacific Ocean.