SpaceX completes first round of Starlink launches; still dozens more to go

SpaceX kept up their busy pace at Cape Canaveral on Wednesday, launching another batch of Starlink internet satellites and completing the first round of the constellation.

Just before 3 p.m., a Falcon 9 rocket blasted off with 60 satellites aboard, crackling through the hazy blue Florida skies en route to space. Moments later, the first-stage booster – which flew once before, on a mission from the West Coast – touched down aboard the company’s drone ship in the Atlantic to be refurbished and reflown.

The briefcase-sized satellites, meanwhile, continued into orbit where they will join over 1,600 other satellites already circling the earth, eventually providing high-speed internet access to much of the globe.


This launch completes the first ‘shell,’ as SpaceX calls it, providing coverage around much of the planet. But a total of five shells – with as many as 4,000 satellites are eventually planned.

Even launching 60 at a time, that requires hundreds of launches. But SpaceX keeps their launch costs down by reusing first-stage boosters instead of letting them crash into the sea; earlier this month, another Falcon 9 first stage made its 10th flight.

SpaceX has already launched 13 Starlink missions this year alone and two more are planned in the next month.

The high-speed internet service is currently only available to beta testers.

A space station cargo flight and a Sirius XM satellite launch are also planned for June.