091421 SpaceX Falcon 9

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches from Vandenberg Space Force Base on Feb. 13, carrying a total of 51 second-generation Starlink satellites into orbit. 

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base at 8:55 p.m. Feb. 13, successfully deploying 51 Starlink internet satellites into Earth's orbit, SpaceX confirmed.

The new satellite technology seeks to improve network and broadband signal interface for internet users around the world.

The mission marks the reusable, two-stage Falcon 9 booster's 10th trip to space and back after it reentered Earth's atmosphere on Monday night just minutes after blastoff from Space Launch Complex 4E.

The booster touched down on one of SpaceX’s rocket landing platforms named “Of Course I Still Love You,” located a few hundred miles downrange in the Pacific Ocean, according to SpaceX.

Monday's successful launch clears the way for SpaceX's next Falcon 9 rocket launch, slated for Wednesday night from Florida's Kennedy Space Center, for the world’s first all-civilian human spaceflight to orbit.

SpaceX is targeting Monday, September 13 for a Falcon 9 launch of 51 Starlink satellites from Space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The instantaneous window is at 8:55 p.m. PDT, September 14 at 3:55 UTC or 5:55 CEST, and a backup opportunity is available on Tuesday, September 14 at 8:56 p.m. PDT, September 15 at 3:56 UTC or 5:56 CEST.

The booster supporting this mission previously launched Telstar 18 VANTAGE, Iridium-8, and seven Starlink missions. Following stage separation, SpaceX will land Falcon 9’s first stage on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship, which will be stationed in the Pacific Ocean. One-half of Falcon 9’s fairing halves previously supported NROL-108 and the other previously flew on GPS III-3 and Turksat-5A.

Lisa André covers lifestyles and local news for Santa Ynez Valley News and Lompoc Record. 

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