SpaceX wraps busy weekend with launch of 22 Starlink satellites (video)

SpaceX launched 22 more of its Starlink internet satellites from California early on Monday morning (Nov. 20).

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Space Force Base Monday at 5:30 a.m. EST (1030 GMT; 2:30 a.m. local California time). 

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

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches 22 Starlink satellites to orbit from California's Vandenberg Space Force Base on Nov. 20, 2023. (Image credit: SpaceX via X)

The Falcon 9's first stage came back to Earth for a vertical landing about 8.5 minutes after launch on the drone ship Of Course I Still Love You, which was stationed in the Pacific Ocean.

It was the 15th launch and landing for this rocket's first stage, according to a SpaceX mission description. That flight resume included nine other Starlink launches as well as the Double Asteroid Redirection Test, a NASA mission that successfully slammed a spacecraft into an asteroid in September 2022.

The 22 Starlink satellites, meanwhile, were deployed from the Falcon 9's upper stage into low Earth orbit about 62.5 minutes after liftoff.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket's first stage approaches a landing on the company's Of Course I Still Love You droneship after launching 22 Starlink satellites from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on Nov. 20, 2023. (Image credit: SpaceX via X)

Monday morning's launch wrapped up a very busy weekend for SpaceX. The company also lofted 23 Starlink satellites from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on Friday night (Nov. 17).

And on Saturday, SpaceX launched the second-ever test flight of Starship, the giant next-generation system it's developing to help humanity set up shop on the moon and Mars. Starship flew well at first, reaching a maximum altitude of about 91 miles (148 kilometers), but the mission ended about eight minutes after liftoff with a "rapid unscheduled disassembly" — SpaceX lingo for an explosion.

Monday morning's launch was originally targeted for Sunday, but the company scrubbed the attempt after propellant loading had begun.

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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.

  • Helio
    What is the date/time window to look up at night and see the string of lights formed from their release? I saw this not too long ago and was amazed.