SpaceX has successfully launched and deployed its fourth batch of Starlink satellites earlier this morning. The launch occurred on time at 9:06am at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Launch Complex 40.
Onboard were 60 custom built SpaceX satellites. Each 260kg, or 507 pound satellite, is part of a larger proposed constellation that aims to provide the worlds most advanced broadband internet to across the globe and in places currently inaccessible. SpaceX is also experimenting with darkening their satellites in an attempt to lower visibility on the ground. This effort would benefit ground based astronomers who fear the constellation may obstruct observation.
The first stage booster flew for the third time today having previously flown the March 2019 Crew Dragon demonstration mission and the June 2019 RADARSAT constellation mission. at an altitude of 290km, all 60 Starlink satellites were deployed. SpaceX engineers determined that they were operating as normal before staring up their onboard thrusters to raise their orbit to 550km.
The mission was an overwhelming success. Booster 1051.3 touched down softly on the drone ship "Of Course I Still Love You." Mrs. Tree successfully caught her fairing half. Mrs. Chief missed her fairing half but it made a soft landing near by and was recovered. The first stage seemingly came down hard and it looks like they used all of the crush core on the landing legs.
SpaceX has Many more Starlink missions planned this year as it aims to complete its 12,000 satellite constellation by the mid 2020's.