After a string of delays, SpaceX launches 13th batch of Starlink internet satellites

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Shrugging off a Falcon 9 launch abort last week and a scrub Monday, SpaceX fired 60 more Starlink internet satellites into orbit Tuesday, the thirteenth batch in a fast-growing global network of broadband relay stations. The rocket’s first stage, making its third flight, flew itself to an on-target landing on an offshore drone ship after lifting the upper stage out of the lower atmosphere, chalking up the company’s 61st successful booster recovery.

Michael Seeley, co-founder of We Report Space, posted a stunning photo of the rocket launch silhouetted by the sun.

The launch ended a frustrating stretch of delays dating back to mid September that included back-to-back Falcon 9 launch aborts last Thursday and Friday that grounded the Starlinks and a Space Force Global Positioning System navigation satellite.

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A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasts off from the Kennedy Space Center Tuesday, boosting another 60 Starlink internet satellites into orbit.

William Harwood/CBS News


The GPS launch remains on hold, but SpaceX was able to correct the unspecified problem that blocked the Starlink launch and after a fourth delay Monday due to stormy weather, the rocket roared to life at 7:29 a.m. EDT Tuesday and shot away from its firing stand at the Kennedy Space Center.

Generating 1.7 million pounds of thrust, the 229-foot-tall rocket vaulted smoothly skyward from historic pad 39A, arcing away on a northeasterly trajectory as it climbed out of the dense lower atmosphere above the Atlantic Ocean.

Two and a half minutes later, the nine Merlin 1D first stage engines shut down as planned and the well-traveled booster, which helped send two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station in May,

SpaceX launches Starlink satellites after string of scrubs

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ORLANDO, Fla., Oct. 6 (UPI) — After repeated delays due to weather and other problems, SpaceX on Tuesday successfully launched a shipment of 60 Starlink communications satellites from Florida.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket lifted off about 7:30 a.m. EDT from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center. Multiple previous launches had been postponed since Sept. 17.

The flight’s reusable booster landed on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean following the launch.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk had tweeted that he would travel to Florida to review the launch following a scrub Friday night he said was due to an “unexpected pressure rise” in a gas generator. The launch was postponed again Monday morning due to rainstorms in the area.

“We will need to make a lot of improvements to have a chance of completing 48 launches next year!” Musk tweeted. “We’re doing a broad review of launch site, propulsion, structures, avionics, range & regulatory constraints this weekend.”

The delays were mirrored by a string of similar scrubs in recent weeks for its main rival, United Launch Alliance, which is trying to send a spy satellite into orbit for the Defense Department.

ULA also has cited weather and mechanical issues with ground systems for the delays that have kept its powerful Delta IV Heavy rocket, carrying the spy satellite, on the launch pad.

“There’s a thousand ways that a launch can go wrong, and only one way it can go right,” Siva Baradvaj, SpaceX space operations engineer, said during a live broadcast for a launch attempt last week.

That attempt was scrubbed due to a sensor reading on ground systems, but Baradvaj noted that the rocket and spacecraft were in good shape.

Tuesday’s launch will ultimately grow the number of Starlink satellites in orbit to well over 700. More have