SpaceX keeps up record launch pace with Starlink launch

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Keeping up an unprecedented flight rate, SpaceX launched its sixth Falcon 9 rocket this month on Sunday, boosting another 53 Starlink internet satellites to orbit.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying another 53 Starlink internet satellites blasts off from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center Sunday, the Californa rocket builder’s 33rd launch so far this year. The unfinished service gantry for SpaceX’s new Super Heavy-Starship rocket can be seen at right, standing about half its eventual height. / Credit: William Harwood/CBS News

Following on the heels of launches last Sunday and Friday, SpaceX’s latest Falcon 9 blasted off from historic pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center at 9:38 a.m. EDT, arcing away to the northeast and releasing its payload of Starlink relay stations about 15 minutes later.

The rocket’s first stage, making its eighth flight, successfully landed on an offshore barge to chalk up SpaceX’s 133rd successful booster recovery.

The Falcon 9 accelerates skyward, well beyond a passing bird. / Credit: William Harwood/CBS News

It was the 167th flight of a Falcon 9 since the rocket’s debut in 2010, the 33rd so far this year and the fifth Starlink launch in less than three weeks, the sixth flight this month.

All told, SpaceX has now launched 2,957 Starlinks as it builds out a globe-spanning network of internet relay stations. Commercial service is now available in 36 countries around the world.

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