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SpaceX launches 56 Starlink satellites

SpaceX launched 56 satellites into low-Earth orbit Friday from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Photo by Joe Marino/UPI
1 of 3 | SpaceX launched 56 satellites into low-Earth orbit Friday from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Photo by Joe Marino/UPI | License Photo

June 23 (UPI) -- SpaceX launched 56 Starlink satellites into low-Earth orbit Friday from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

The satellites were carried into orbit aboard a Falcon 9 rocket, which launched at 11:35 a.m. EDT. Shortly after takeoff the first-stage booster separated from the rest of the spacecraft and landed successfully on the Just Read the Instructions drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.

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The launch was initially scheduled for earlier in the day Friday but had to be pushed back due to weather conditions.

The Falcon 9 booster stage used in Friday's launch previously flew three Starlink missions and launched the Eutelsat HOTBIRD 13F, CRS-24, OneWeb1, SES-18, and SES-19 missions.

The launch was broadcast live by SpaceX.

The satellites deployed Friday are from the Starlink V1.5 generation, which will be transitioned to newer Starlink V2 Minis, which have improved propulsion systems and vastly improved broadband capacity.

Though SpaceX plans to fully transition to Starlink V2 Minis this year, they will be launched to supplement the satellites already in orbit, not to replace them.

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SpaceX plans on deploying its second-generation Starlinks on a different orbital plane than previous models and though the Starlink V1.5 satellites that were launched Friday are from an older generation, they were launched into the orbit that will be occupied by newer models.

SpaceX plans to launch 29,988 second-generation satellites and has already been granted approval for 7,500 by the Federal Communications Commission.

Friday's launch was the 44th for SpaceX this year so far.

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