SpaceX launches 23 satellites from Florida on 1st leg of Starlink doubleheader (video)

SpaceX launched another batch of its Starlink internet satellites from Florida today (May 8), on the first leg of a planned spaceflight doubleheader for the company.

A Falcon 9 rocket topped with 23 Starlink craft lifted off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida today at 2:42 p.m. EDT (1842 GMT), at the very end of a nearly four-hour window.

The Falcon 9's first stage came back to Earth as planned about 8.5 minutes later, touching down on the 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 23 Starlink satellites from Florida on May 8, 2024. (Image credit: SpaceX)

It was the 3rd launch and landing for this particular first stage, according to a SpaceX mission description. The booster had one Starlink mission and the Crew-8 astronaut launch under its belt before today.

The Falcon 9's upper stage, meanwhile, will continue carrying the Starlink satellites to low Earth orbit, where they will be deployed about 65 minutes after liftoff.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket rests on the deck of a drone ship shortly after launching 23 Starlink satellites from Florida on May 8, 2024. (Image credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX has now launched 47 orbital missions in 2024, 32 of which have been devoted to building out the Starlink broadband megaconstellation.

And there's another Starlink launch on tap today as well: SpaceX intends to launch 20 more Starlink satellites from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California tonight, during a nearly three-hour window that opens at 10:48 p.m. EDT (0248 GMT on May 9).

Editor's note: This story was updated at 2:56 p.m. EDT on May 8 with news of successful launch and rocket landing.

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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.