SpaceX launches 22 Starlink satellites from Florida after delay

a rocket carves an arc of orange flame into a dusky sky.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches 22 Starlink satellites on Oct. 13, 2023. (Image credit: SpaceX)

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.

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

The first stage of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket rests on the deck of a drone ship shortly after launching 22 Starlink satellites on Oct. 13, 2023. (Image credit: SpaceX)

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.

Editor's note: This story was updated at 2:15 a.m. ET on Oct. 10 with news of the launch delay, again at 3:10 p.m. ET on Oct. 13 with the new target date, and then again at 9 p.m. ET on Oct. 13 with news of successful launch, booster landing and satellite deploy.

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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.