SpaceX launches Starlink satellites, loses booster in sea

Feb. 15 (UPI) -- Elon Musk's SpaceX successfully launched another Falcon 9 rocket carrying dozens of Starlink satellites into space on Monday after delaying liftoff for nearly 24 hours due to weather.

The rocket launched at 10:59 p.m. EST from Cape Canaveral Space Force Base Station Launch Complex 40 in Florida, carrying 60 Starlink satellites into orbit.


On returning to Earth, the rocket's first-stage booster, however, failed to land on the Of Course, I still Love You drone ship and seemingly crashed into the Atlantic Ocean.

"It is unfortunate that we did not recover this booster," Jessica Anderson, lead manufacturing engineer at SpaceX, said during the launch's live broadcast, adding it would have been the sixth successful retrieval of that particular booster.

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The 60 Starlink satellites were, however, successfully deployed into low-Earth orbit from the second-stage booster and will make their way by ion thrusters to their operation orbit over the next few weeks.

The launch was originally scheduled for 11:21 p.m. EST Sunday but was delayed until Monday night due to unfavorable weather.

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Minutes before liftoff Monday, SpaceX tweeted that both the rocket and the weather were "looking good" ahead of the launch.

It was Starlink's 19th mission sending satellites into orbit with the intent to provide broadband low-latency Internet the globe over.

More than 1,000 active Starlink satellites have been launched into low-Earth orbit, and SpaceX has begun delivering initial beta Internet service with plans to have near-global coverage this year.

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"Unbounded by traditional ground infrastructure, Starlink can deliver high-speed broadband Internet to locations where access has been unreliable or completely unavailable," SpaceX tweeted shortly before liftoff on Monday.

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