Elon Musk’s SpaceX launches 53 Starlink satellites from California

A SpaceX rocket launched 53 satellites for the Starlink Internet constellation on Friday after they departed from California.

The Falcon 9 booster took off from Vandenberg Space Force Base at 15:07, and minutes later the first stage landed on a drone ship in the Pacific Ocean, while the second stage continued to an empty Earth orbit.

SpaceX later tweeted that the satellites were successfully deployed.

Starlink is a space-based system that SpaceX has built for years to bring Internet access to underserved areas of the world.

Hawthorne, California-based SpaceX has hundreds of Starlink satellites orbiting the Earth at an altitude of 340 miles (550 kilometers).

SpaceX recently announced that its Starlink Internet service will now be available in 32 new countries. It shared an availability map for the service, which showed countries marked under various segments such as Available, Waiting List, and Coming Soon. Most countries in Europe and North America are listed under Available, while some regions in South America are under waiting list, which means that the Starlink service is read to ship in these regions. Most of the newly added countries fall into the next soon category, including all of Africa, South America, and South and Southeast Asia.

The Starlink internet service will expand to more countries including India. In India, however, the service has not yet received any commercial licenses. SpaceX had originally planned to launch the service in India and provide full coverage by the end of 2021. The new availability map does not show timelines for the countries where the internet service is said to launch.