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SpaceX Confirms Falcon 9’s First Stage has Successfully Landed and Targets 47 Starlink launch

Yusuf Balogun
Yusuf Balogun
Yusuf is a law graduate and freelance journalist with a keen interest in tech reporting.

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While SpaceX is targeting the launch of the Falcon 9 rocket carrying 47 Starlink spacecraft from California’s Vandenberg Space Force Base for 3:19 a.m. EDT, Thursday morning, it has now confirmed Falcon 9’s first stage has landed successfully on the Of Course I Still Love You droneship.

The spacecraft manufacturer uncovered the development in a recent tweet via its official Twitter page. The launch will be another big batch of its Starlink internet satellites. With this, SpaceX has now launched more than 4,600 Starlink satellites, the vast majority of which are currently operational, according to astrophysicist and satellite tracker Jonathan McDowell.

Approximately eight minutes and 45 seconds after launch, the first stage of the Falcon 9 made a scheduled return to Earth. It executed a precise touchdown on the Pacific Ocean-based SpaceX drone ship – Of Course I Still Love You. According to a mission description from SpaceX, it was this specific booster’s third launch and landing overall. 

The 47 Starlink satellites were still being carried into orbit by the Falcon 9’s upper stage to place them in low Earth orbit roughly 19 minutes after liftoff. SpaceX has been given authorization to launch 12,000 Starlink satellites, and it has also requested permission to launch an additional 30,000 spacecraft.

Hence, if everything goes as planned, Thursday’s Starlink mission will be the first of two early-morning spaceflight missions: At 5:18 a.m. EDT (09:18 GMT), a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV Heavy rocket is set to blast off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station with a classified satellite for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office.


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