SpaceX launches 53 Starlink satellites, lands rocket at sea (video)

SpaceX launched yet another big batch of its Starlink broadband satellites and landed a rocket on a ship at sea Thursday night (Oct. 27).

A Falcon 9 rocket topped with 53 Starlink satellites lifted off from California's Vandenberg Space Force Base Thursday at 9:14 p.m. EDT (6:14 p.m. local California time; 0114 GMT on Oct. 28).

The Falcon 9's first stage came back to Earth and made a pinpoint landing a little less than nine minutes after launch on the SpaceX droneship Of Course I Still Love You, which was stationed in the Pacific Ocean.

Related: SpaceX's Starlink megaconstellation launches in photos

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches 53 Starlink internet satellites from California's Vandenberg Space Force Base on Oct. 27, 2022.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches 53 Starlink internet satellites from California's Vandenberg Space Force Base on Oct. 27, 2022. (Image credit: SpaceX)

It was the eighth liftoff and landing for this particular booster, according to a SpaceX mission description. The rocket previously helped launch the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich Earth-observation satellite in November 2020, NASA's DART asteroid-smashing probe in November 2021, and five other Starlink missions. 

The Falcon 9's upper stage, meanwhile, continued powering its way to low Earth orbit, eventually deploying the 53 Starlinks 15.5 minutes after launch as planned.

SpaceX has launched more than 3,500 satellites for Starlink, its internet megaconstellation, which already provides service to customers around the world.

Many of those spacecraft have gone up this year. SpaceX has now conducted 49 orbital missions in 2022, and nearly two-thirds of them have ferried big Starlink batches skyward. 

Editor's note: This story was updated to correct the launch time for SpaceX's Starlink launch. It was also updated at 9:49 p.m. EDT on Oct. 27 with the news of successful launch, rocket landing and satellite deployment.

Mike Wall is the author of "Out There" (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or on Facebook.  

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Mike Wall
Senior Space Writer

Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.