Liftoff of the Space Exploration Technologies rocket toccurred at 9:12 a.m. from Space Launch Complex-4 on South Base, where skies were especially clear for the departure.
The rocket carried dozens of Starlink satellites designed to deliver internet services around the globe, including in remote areas, adding to hundreds of craft already in space.
After completing its chores, the rocket’s used first-stage booster returned to land on a drone ship, “Of Course I Still Love You,” in the Pacific Ocean.
The launch created a rumble that was heard and felt throughout much of the county, and left a white contrail visible against the blue sky.
This was the fourth time for this booster to safely return after conducting its mission.
SpaceX said the first-stage booster flown Friday previously carried Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich, DART, and one Starlink mission, all from Vandenberg.
Approximately an hour after launch, SpaceX founder Elon Musk confirmed satellite deployment had occurred successfully.
This was the second Starlink mission of the work week, with the first taking place from Florida on Monday when 46 satellites arrived in space.
SpaceX reportedly plans to have thousands of Starlink satellites for the constellation, leading to concerns about space debris.
During a week when the firm sent 96 Starlink satellites into orbit, the firm released a statement spellingout its efforts toward space sustainability and safety.
“SpaceX is striving to be the world’s most open and transparent satellite operator, and we encourage other operators to join us in sharing orbital data and keeping the public and governments updated with detailed information about operations and practices,” the statement said.
Efforts include designing and building highly reliable, maneuverable satellites, operating at low altitudes to ensure no persistent debris, Inserting satellites at an especially low altitude to verify their health prior to moving them into their operational orbit and creating an advanced collision avoidance system.
“SpaceX continues to innovate to accelerate space technologies, and we are currently providing much-needed internet connectivity to people all over the globe, including underserved and remote parts of the world, with our Starlink constellation,” the statement said.
Friday’s launch marked SpaceX’s third Starlink mission from the West Coast, with the first two occurring in September and December last year.
It also was the second launch of 2022 and February for Falcon from Vandenberg, with the first occurring Feb. 2 to place a top-secret payload into space for the National Reconnaissance Office.