CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The third time was the charm for SpaceX, successfully launching its Falcon 9 rocket Thursday night for the Starlink satellites mission and setting the stage for global-wide internet service.
- Falcon 9 launch tonight from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
- Launch window ran from 10:30 p.m. to midnight
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SpaceX launched the Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station after scrubbing two launch attempts last week.
The launch window was scheduled to open at 10:30 p.m. The 45th Space Wing said there is a 10 percent chance liftoff winds might impact the launch.
The private space company said on Thursday, after the second launch attempt was scrubbed, that it was updating satellite software and would "triple-check everything again."
The rocket has 60 small Starlink satellites, weighing 30,000 pounds, placed into the payload fairing. It's the heaviest payload ever for SpaceX.
The satellites deployed about an hour after liftoff.
SpaceX's goal is to create a massive constellation of satellites that orbit the Earth, providing high-speed internet access to virtually anywhere in the world.
As they orbit around the Earth, each of them on their own can maneuver to avoid collisions in space.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk says the goal is to launch 1,000 of them a year.
Eventually, Starlink could be made up of nearly 12,000 satellites.
"He's got a lot of irons in the fire with a lot of different technology companies, but this one is supposed to generate an unending amount of cash that with subsidize his efforts to explore space," said Dale Ketcham with Space Florida.
The Falcon 9 first stage booster will be landing on the drone ship several hundred miles off the coast. Plus recovery ships were in position out at sea to try and save the rocket fairings.