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In Photos: SpaceX Launches Third Batch of 60 Starlink Satellites to Orbit

On Monday (Jan. 6), SpaceX became the company operating the most satellites with the launch of its third batch of Starlink satellites. A Falcon 9 rocket delivered the payload of 60 Starlink satellites into orbit from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, bringing the total number of satellites in the internet constellation up to 180.

Full Story: SpaceX Launches 60 Starlink Satellites, Nails Rocket Landing in Record-Breaking Flight

Related: SpaceX Just Launched a Fleet of Starlink Satellites. Here's How to Spot Them in the Sky.

(Image credit: SpaceX)

The successful launch was the first under the governance of the newly established U.S. Space Force. The Falcon 9 first stage that carried the satellites into orbit had been used three times before, and this is the second Falcon 9 booster to fly four times.

(Image credit: SpaceX)

The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, at 9:19 p.m. EST on Jan. 6 (0219 GMT on Jan. 7).

(Image credit: SpaceX)

The Falcon 9 first stage had previously launched the first batch of Starlink satellites, as well as the Iridium-8 and Telstar 18 VANTAGE missions before this historic fourth flight.

(Image credit: SpaceX/Twitter)

The 60 new Starlink satellites, marking the third batch deployed, made SpaceX the operator of the largest satellite fleet in space.

(Image credit: SpaceX/Twitter)

The Falcon 9 rocket soars into space with 60 of the company's Starlink internet satellites in this long-exposure photo of the launch.

(Image credit: Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto/Getty)

The Falcon 9 rocket launch arches far into the atmosphere on its way to space as seen from Cocoa Beach, Florida. The Starlink satellites will provide internet coverage to Earth, expanding coverage to areas that have poor or no coverage now.

starlink 2 mission

(Image credit: SpaceX)

While in orbit, the Falcon 9 deploys its grid fins to help guide it back to Earth safely (left). On the right the Falcon 9 second stage fires to power the rocket back into Earth's atmosphere.

(Image credit: SpaceX)

As the Falcon 9 heads back to Earth the protective protective nosecone is deployed. The Starlink constellation of broadband satellites currently stands at 180 with a goal of 400 for minimal coverage and 800 for moderate coverage.

Related: SpaceX's Starlink Constellation Could Swell by 30,000 More Satellites

(Image credit: SpaceX)

The Falcon 9 first stage made a successful trip to space and return, landing gently on "Of Course I Still Love You," SpaceX's drone landing ship.

Video: Touchdown! SpaceX Lands Rocket After Launching 60 Starlink Satellites

starlink 2 mission

(Image credit: SpaceX)

The 60 Starlink satellites, stacked on the Falcon 9 second stage, shimmer against the darkness of space. Astronomers have complained about how brightly they shine in orbit.

starlink 2 mission

(Image credit: SpaceX)

The Starlink satellites ride on the Falcon 9 second stage, stacked together awaiting deployment. The rocket and its payload coast in Earth's orbit.

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