SpaceX launches 46 Starlink satellites in twin orbits in less than 6 hours

New Delhi: Elon Musk's space company SpaceX on Monday twin-launched 46 Starlink Internet satellites into low-Earth orbit — all in just six hours.

The satellites lifted off on a reusable, two-stage Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, the company said in a statement.

The first set of 23 satellites was launched at 4:35 am (India time) on Monday.

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„This is the 11th flight for the first stage booster to support this mission, which has previously launched Crew-5, GPS III Space Vehicle 06, Inmarsat I6-F2, CRS-28, Intelsat G-37, NG-20 and now five Starlink missions,” It added that.

About 8.5 minutes later, Falcon 9's first stage came back down to Earth and landed vertically on the SpaceX drone ship “Just Read the Instructions” parked in the Atlantic Ocean.

„Deployment of 23 @Starlink satellites confirmed,” SpaceX said in a tweet, an hour after the launch.

The second set of 23 Starlink satellites was lifted into low Earth orbit at 9:39 am (India time).

„This is the 17th flight for the first stage booster to support this mission, which previously launched Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich, DART, Transporter-7, Iridium OneWeb, SDA-0B and 11 Starlink missions,” the company said.

Following stage separation, the first stage will land on the 'Of Course I Still Love You' droneship, which will be stationed in the Pacific Ocean.

Last week, SpaceX launched 23 Starlink Internet satellites.

The company currently has more than 5,000 Starlink satellites in orbit and has approval to launch up to 12,000 more.

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SpaceX has already launched 22 orbital missions this year, but more are in the works: the company wants to launch 144 times by 2024.

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