Watch 60 SpaceX Starlink Satellites Floating Off Into Space on Anniversary of First Launch

SpaceX has released a video of 60 stacked Starlink internet satellites being deployed in low Earth orbit following another successful launch on Wednesday.

A Falcon 9 rocket carrying the satellites launched from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 4:28 a.m. ET, deploying the satellites into orbit just over an hour later.

The first stage of this particular re-usable rocket, which has already completed six flights, successfully landed around nine minutes later on a drone ship—dubbed "Of Course I Still Love You"—which is located in the Atlantic Ocean.

Wednesday's event took place on the 15th anniversary of SpaceX's first-ever launch. On March 24, 2006, the company launched its first Falcon 1 rocket. However, the mission was unsuccessful, with the first stage engine failing soon after lift-off.

"This is the sixth landing for this booster and the 78th landing overall," Andy Tran, a production supervisor at SpaceX, said during a webcast of Wednesday's launch. "What a way to start the day."

"With more than 100 successful flights of Falcon 9 and 78 recoveries of our first stage to date, we've made a lot of progress since then," he added.

The goal of the Starlink initiative is to provide superfast global internet coverage with very low latency, even in rural or remote areas that may normally lack reliable connectivity.

To provide this coverage, SpaceX plans to deploy tens of thousands of mass-produced broadband satellites in low Earth orbit, creating a "mega-constellation."

The company's initial constellation will consist of 1,440 satellites, which they hope will provide "near-global coverage of the populated world in 2021."

SpaceX has nearly reached this goal having deployed almost 1,400 satellites in orbit over more than 20 Starlink missions, although some have been de-orbited.

Deployment of 60 Starlink satellites confirmed

— SpaceX (@SpaceX) March 24, 2021

Starlink satellites are being deployed around 60 times closer to Earth than traditional internet satellites. SpaceX says this results in lower latency and the "the ability to support services typically not possible with traditional satellite internet."

High latency means that data takes a relatively long time to travel between the surface and the satellite.

Many traditional internet satellites are in very high geostationary orbits—around 22,000 miles above the Earth's equator—meaning they often struggle to provide fast internet coverage.

SpaceX is currently providing a beta Starlink internet service in some regions, including the U.S., Canada and Germany.

Some in the astronomy community have criticized Starlink due to the potential for the satellites to interfere with scientific observations.

First stage of a SpaceX Falcon 9
The recovered first stage of a Falcon 9 rocket stands at Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) on February 2, 2021 in Hawthorne, California. PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images