SpaceX launched 46 satellites and landed the return rocket on a ship at sea on Sunday July 10.
One step in two steps Falcon 9 spacex 46 topped rocket Stellar Link The Internet satellites lifted off from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on Sunday at 9:39 p.m. EDT (6:39 p.m. local California time; 0139 GMT on July 11).
About 8.5 minutes after liftoff, the Falcon 9 first stage returned to Earth and landed on the SpaceX Of Course I Still Love You drone, which was parked in the Pacific Ocean.
Related: SpaceX’s Starlink megaconstellation launches in photos
This was the sixth launch and landing for this Falcon 9 first stage. The booster also helped launch the Sentinel-6 Earth observation satellite Michael Freilich, the asteroid double-redirect test mission of the NASA and three Starlink lots, SpaceX says in a job description (opens in a new tab).
Falcon 9’s upper stage, meanwhile, deployed all 46 Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit 63 minutes after liftoff as scheduled, SpaceX announced via Twitter (opens in a new tab).
Sunday night’s launch was the 29th orbital mission of the year for SpaceX and the 17th dedicated to Starlink, the company’s massive internet-satellite constellation.
SpaceX has launched more than 2,750 Starlink satellites (opens in a new tab) to date, and the number will continue to grow for the foreseeable future. The company already has clearance to launch 12,000 Starlink ships, and it has asked an international regulator for permission to launch up to 30,000 more.
Editor’s note: This story was updated at 9:57 p.m. EDT on July 10 with news of the rocket’s successful liftoff and landing, then again at 11:00 p.m. EDT with news of the satellite’s deployment.
Mike Wall is the author of “The low (opens in a new tab)(Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for extraterrestrial life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in a new tab). Follow us on twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in a new tab) Or on Facebook (opens in a new tab).