SpaceX’s Starlink satellite constellation grew a little larger Thursday morning, as the firm added 60 more devices to the network.
The Falcon 9 rocket took off at 8:46am ET from Launch Complex 39-A at Kennedy Space Center carrying the new batch of broadband satellites.
The mission was originally set for Sunday, but was unable to get off the ground due to poor weather plaguing the Florida coast.
Filled with one million pounds of kerosene, Falcon 9 took over the launch countdown with just 60 seconds on the clock and at 30 seconds, all systems were go for launch.
The rocket successfully soared into space, marking its 12th Starlink mission that brings the mega constellation to 713 internet-beaming devices.
SpaceX also revealed that its satellites have shown ‘super low latency and download speeds greater than 100 mbps,’ but the speeds are still off from what the firm had originally promised.
‘What a beautiful sight,’ SpaceX engineer and launch commentator Kate Tice said after the satellites floated away after a smooth deployment.
Falcon 9 took off on time, roaring its engines and releasing a stream of while smoke.
SpaceX had originally set Sunday as the launch day, which was set to see two separate Falcon 9 rockets take off from the Florida launch pad and would have been a first for the firm.
Stormy weather rolled in and thunderstorms forced the team to abort the mission, but the crew was able to send the new batch into orbit Thursday.
SpaceX confirmed the 60 Starlinks successfully deployed from the rocket’s upper stage and are now floating in orbit.
Shortly after deployment, the Falcon 9 booster returned to Earth and landed on SpaceX’s drone ship ‘Of Course I Still Love You.’
The firm shared a tweet shortly after the mission regarding the satellites: ‘In initial tests of Starlink, the team has been collecting latency data and performing standard speed tests of the system.’
‘Results from these tests have shown super low latency and download speeds greater than 100 mbps – fast enough to stream multiple HD movies at once and still have bandwidth to spare.’
Internet service will first rollout as a pilot, which the firm said it needs about 800 satellites to start and has begun signups to test the technology.
CEO Elon Musk has said that the price for the Internet – which promises gigabit speeds with 15 to 25ms latency – will be about $80 per month, making it competitive with other traditional high-speed providers like Verizon Fios.
The firm aims to have more than 1,000 satellites in orbit by the end of the year and has also been approved by the FCC to launch over 12,000 in total.
SpaceX has hit a few bumps along its career, but has recently made strides in launching rockets.
Just two weeks ago, it completed the first test flight of the massive Starship rocket that soared nearly 500 feet into the air.
The rocket, which aims to one-day bring humans to Mars, has experienced a number of setbacks – specifically exploding during testing.
And the SN6 prototype could make its first ‘hop’ today at the SpaceX testing facility in Boca Chica, Texas.
However, none of SpaceX’s recent accomplishments can compare to their joint mission with NASA in May that sent astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station.
The crew took off in an America rocket from Florida – a feat that has not been done in nearly nine years.