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SpaceX launches 22 Starlink satellites from Florida after delay

SpaceX launched 22 of its Starlink internet satellites tonight (Oct. 13), after a weeklong delay to prioritize preparations for the liftoff of NASA's Psyche asteroid mission.

The Starlink spacecraft lifted off atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 7:01 p.m. EDT (2301 GMT).

The Falcon 9's first stage returned to Earth for a vertical landing at sea as planned. It touched down on the SpaceX drone ship A Shortfall of Gravitas about 8.5 minutes after launch.

It was the 14th liftoff and landing for this particular Falcon 9 first stage, according to a SpaceX mission description. Two of its 13 previous missions sent astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA.

The 22 Starlink satellites, meanwhile, deployed on schedule from the Falcon 9's upper stage into low Earth orbit about 65 minutes after launch, SpaceX announced via X (formerly known as Twitter).

The Starlinks were originally supposed to launch on Monday (Oct. 9), but SpaceX stood down to gear up for the launch of NASA's Psyche asteroid probe. That mission lifted off today atop a Falcon Heavy rocket from Kennedy Space Center, which is next door to Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

Tonight's Starlink flight was SpaceX's 73rd orbital launch of the year. The majority of those liftoffs have been dedicated to building out the Starlink megaconstellation, which currently consists of 4,830 operational satellites.

Follow Pegasus Aerospace System on Twitter @systemaerospace. Follow us on Twitter @systemaerospace or Facebook, Linkedin and Instagram @pegasusaerospace.

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