HAWTHORNE, CA — Hawthorne-based SpaceX launched another batch of satellites into low orbit Friday as part of its expanding Starlink broadband internet array.
The Falcon 9 rocket carrying the satellites into orbit launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base along the central coast shortly after 3 p.m.
The rocket was carrying 53 more Starlink satellites, adding to an array that already includes thousands of satellites in a low orbit around the planet. Starlink is envisioned as a worldwide satellite-based broadband service, providing internet links in areas that previously had connectivity issues.
Starlink service is already available in 32 countries.
According to the Hawthorne aerospace company, the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket being used in Friday’s launch had already flown four previous missions for SpaceX, which has pioneered efforts to recover rockets for re-use, dramatically cutting the costs of future flights.
The company again recovered the rocket’s first stage Friday by landing it on the whimsically named barge “Of Course I Still Love You” floating in the Pacific Ocean.
SpaceX is scheduled to launch another batch of Starlink satellites Saturday from Cape Canaveral in Florida. That launch is set for 1:12 p.m. California time.