SpaceX launches 22 Starlink satellites in nighttime liftoff (video)

SpaceX launched 22 more of its Starlink internet satellites to orbit tonight (Sept. 8) and landed the returning rocket on a ship at sea.

A Falcon 9 rocket launched the Starlink spacecraft from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida tonight (Sept. 8) at 11:12 p.m. EDT (0312 GMT).

The Falcon 9's first stage came back to Earth for a landing about 8.5 minutes after liftoff tonight, touching down on the SpaceX droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas, which was stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

Related: Starlink satellite train: How to see and track it in the night sky

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches 22 Starlink satellites on Sept. 8, 2023. (Image credit: SpaceX)

It was the seventh launch and landing for this particular booster, according to a SpaceX mission description

The 22 Starlink satellites are scheduled to deploy from the Falcon 9's upper stage about 65 minutes after launch.

The first stage of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket rests on the deck of a drone ship shortly after launching 22 Starlink satellites on Sept. 8, 2023. (Image credit: SpaceX)

Tonight's launch was the 63rd of 2023 for SpaceX, extending the company's record for a single year. The previous mark, 61, was set in 2022.

More than half of this year's liftoffs have been dedicated to building out Starlink, SpaceX's internet megaconstellation, which currently consists of more than 4,600 operational satellites.

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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.