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Watch SpaceX nail the key stages of its latest Starlink launch

SpaceX sent another rocket up on Wednesday evening, the night sky lighting up as the Falcon 9 departed Cape Canaveral in Florida.

The June 3 launch was the latest one for SpaceX’s ambitious Starlink project aimed at providing broadband services for customers globally, and came just three days after its first astronaut launch using its Crew Dragon capsule.

Fifteen minutes after the Falcon 9 rocket left the pad, SpaceX deployed 60 more of its internet satellites into low Earth orbit. The arrival of the new batch means it now has a total of 480 satellites in operation as it continues preparations for a private beta of the broadband service in the months ahead.

For Wednesday’s outing, SpaceX tweeted video clips (below) showing each of the mission’s key stages, including the Falcon 9 rocket launch, the first-stage booster landing on a drone ship in the Atlantic, and of course the all-important satellite deployment.

We’re still waiting for news on whether SpaceX managed to catch the Falcon 9’s fairing, or nose cone, which comes down in two parts soon after lift-off. It uses ships with huge nets to catch the pieces, but the procedure has been proving tricky.

Here’s the Falcon 9 heading to space …

Next up, the moment the first-stage booster returned to Earth, making a perfect landing on the drone ship. SpaceX noted that the reusable Falcon 9 booster is the first one to achieve five landings.

A short while later, the 60 Starlink satellites deployed in a tightly packed configuration. Over the days ahead they’ll spread out in orbit. One of them is being used to test a special visor designed to eliminate the sun’s reflection. The issue that has been troubling astronomers as the glare could affect their exploration of deep space.

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Trevor Mogg
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Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
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