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SpaceX deploys 3,500th Starlink satellite

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SpaceX successfully launched its latest round of Starlink satellites Thursday aboard a reusable Falcon 9 rocket, bringing the total number in orbit to more than 3,500, the company confirmed in a celebratory post. File Photo by Joe Marino/UPI
SpaceX successfully launched its latest round of Starlink satellites Thursday aboard a reusable Falcon 9 rocket, bringing the total number in orbit to more than 3,500, the company confirmed in a celebratory post. File Photo by Joe Marino/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 20 (UPI) -- SpaceX successfully launched its latest round of Starlink satellites Thursday, bringing the total number in orbit to more than 3,500, the company confirmed in a celebratory post.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 10:50 a.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex 40 in Cape Canaveral, Fla.

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The rocket was carrying a batch of 54 satellites into low-Earth orbit, the fourth shell of the company's Starlink constellation. The satellites were deployed into orbit around 15 minutes after the rocket lifted off from the launchpad.

The milestone mission was the 48th successful launch so far this year. The company recorded 31 launches in 2021 and has more than two months to surpass 50 this year.

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Falcon 9 is a reusable, two-stage rocket designed and manufactured by SpaceX to deliver payloads into Earth orbit and beyond.

The rockets have mostly carried Starlink satellite payloads, but have also been used to send NASA astronauts to the International Space Station and launched U.S. military satellites.

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Thursday's launch comes a day after SpaceX announced that its satellite Internet service Starlink will be available on select airplanes beginning next year.

Starlink Aviation will offer Internet speeds of up to 350 Mbps to each plane that is equipped with its Aero Terminal, which it says is fast enough for video calls, online gaming, "and other high data rate activities."

Last week, Tesla founder Elon Musk said SpaceX could not keep funding its Starlink satellites in Ukraine because the company is losing money. He later backtracked, saying the company would continue to provide Internet service to Ukraine.

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