SpaceX launches 50 Starlink satellites from California
Falcon 9 lifts off at 9:12 a.m. PT from Vandenberg
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Ca. – SpaceX launched more internet-beaming satellites Friday in its second Starlink mission of the week, but this time from the opposite coast.
On Monday, a Falcon 9 launched from Florida, sending up 46 Starlink satellites, then on Friday SpaceX sent up an additional 50 satellites from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
The rocket blasted off from the pad for 9:12 a.m. PT (12:12 p.m. ET) into clear blue sky above the launch site. In case you missed it, re-watch the launch at the top of this story.
An important part of SpaceX's business model is reusability. After launch, the Falcon 9 booster landed on a drone ship in the Pacific Ocean and will fly again on another mission. The booster supporting Friday's Starlink liftoff has previously launched three other missions, including NASA's Double Asteroid Redirect Test spacecraft.
Two months into 2022, SpaceX has been busy. This launch marks the eighth Falcon 9 launch this year and the fifth for February alone.
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Elon Musk's company will continue launching Starlink satellites at a rapid cadence as it builds the constellation of spacecraft to beam internet to anywhere in the world, even remote communities. Musk recently said that more than 250,000 Starlink user terminal orders had been fulfilled.
SpaceX is also preparing for several human spaceflights this spring and is busy developing the Starship spaceship in Texas.
The first up is the Axiom-1 mission led by Axiom Space Vice President and former NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria. The Crew Dragon launch will be the first all-private mission to the International Space Station. Axiom purchased a ride for its three paying customers onboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft that will launch from Florida in late March.
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In April, SpaceX will launch four NASA astronauts to the ISS on Crew Dragon as part of the agency's commercial crew program. The Crew-4 mission will mark the fourth official mission as part of the program and the fifth overall human spaceflight for NASA by SpaceX.
At least two Starlink launches from Florida are on SpaceX's schedule for March as the company approaches 2,000 satellites in low-Earth orbit.