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SpaceX launches 20 Starlink satellites with Direct to Cell capabilities
SpaceX launches 20 Starlink satellites with Direct to Cell capabilities
by Sheri Walsh
Washington DC (UPI) Jun 4, 2024

SpaceX launched its Falcon 9 rocket into orbit Tuesday night with 20 Starlink satellites, including some with Direct to Cell capabilities that will improve access to text and voice data here on Earth.

"Ignition and liftoff. Go Falcon. Go Starlink," mission control said as the rocket blasted off at 10:16 p.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex 40 at Florida's Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

Two-and-a-half minutes into the flight, stage separation was confirmed with the first stage landing on the Just Read the Instructions droneship in the Atlantic Ocean six minutes later.

"Falcon 9's first stage lands on the Just Read the Instructions drone ship, completing our first launch and landing this month," according to SpaceX.

The Starlink satellites launched Tuesday include 13 with Direct to Cell capabilities that will provide "seamless access to text, voice and data for LTE phones across the globe," according to SpaceX.

Tuesday's launch was the 20th flight for the first stage booster, which previously launched CRS-22, Crew-3, Turksat 5B, Crew-4, CRS-25, Eutelsat HOTBIRD 13G, mPOWER-a, PSN SATRIA, Telkomsat Merah Putih 2 and 10 Starlink missions.

According to SpaceX, Tuesday's launch was also the fastest turnaround for a passive fairing half.

"The passive fairing half for this mission recently supported a Starlink mission launch on May 22 -- less than two weeks ago -- marking our fastest launch-to-launch turnaround for fairing refurbishment and reuse," it said.

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