SpaceX launched another 53 Starlink satellites into orbit Thursday evening from California. It's the 49th SpaceX mission of 2022. Pictured is a Falcon 9 rocket launched earlier this month from Florida. Photo by Joe Marino/UPI | License Photo
Oct. 28 (UPI) -- SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket carrying 53 more Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit on Thursday.
The flight lifted off from Vandenberg Space Force Base northwest of Los Angeles and headed southeast over the Pacific Ocean in its first minutes.
It was the 49th SpaceX mission of the year and roughly 75% of the flights launched Starlink satellites. Before the latest launch, SpaceX had reached a milestone of putting more than 3,500 satellites into orbit on Oct. 20.
Those satellites provide internet access and initially focused on fixed users in homes and businesses. But now SpaceX is developing mobile Starlink services.
"Earlier this week the team began accepting orders for the new flat high-performance Starlink antenna designed for use while in motion on land," said Jessie Anderson, a SpaceX production engineer and commentator for Thursday night's launch. "The new panel features a wide field of view and enhanced GPS capabilities, allowing users to employ high speed, low latency internet while on the go."
Thursday's launch was visible in the twilight sky across part of California and much of the southwestern United States and Mexico, with photos posted on social media from as far away as west Texas showing the rocket lit up against the night sky.
The Falcon 9 is a re-useable rocket. This summer one of those rockets was used for the 13th time, tying a company record for re-useable rockets.
The next scheduled SpaceX launch is set for Nov. 1 at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.