SpaceX launches additional Starlink satellites with improved direct-to-cell capabilities.

SpaceX successfully launched 20 more Starlink satellites from Space Launch Complex 4 East at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The Falcon 9 lift-off occurred at 9:30 pm ET and the mission headed south along the Californian coast. This marked the 75th launch from pad 4E in California for SpaceX.

Out of the 20 satellites launched, 13 are direct-to-cell capable, meaning they can connect directly to cell phones similar to how current phones connect to land-based cell towers. These satellites aim to improve connectivity in remote areas and eliminate dead zones. The launch also indicated the increasing pace of missions from SLC-4E as SpaceX’s Starlink constellation build-out gains momentum.

The Falcon 9 booster used for this mission, Booster 1082, completed its fourth launch. After successfully delivering the satellites into a 53-degree orbital trajectory, the first stage of Falcon 9 landed on the droneship “Of Course I Still Love You”. The booster will undergo refurbishment ahead of its 5th mission.

With this mission, SpaceX completed its 48th launch of the year. The company is preparing for another Starlink mission from Florida, scheduled for no earlier than 8:11 pm ET on Sunday.

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