A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with a thrice-flown first stage and a previously used nose cone fairing shot into orbit Monday on a Veterans Day flight to launch 60 Starlink internet relay satellites. It was the second batch in a planned constellation of thousands intended to provide broadband service around the world.
With the rising sun as a backdrop — and Mercury creeping across it in a relatively rare transit — the Falcon 9's nine main engines thundered to life at 9:56 a.m. EST, pushing the slender rocket away from its launchpad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
In keeping with SpaceX's drive to lower costs by reflying its rocket hardware, the Falcon 9's first stage was making a record fourth flight after two missions in 2018 and another earlier this year.
In another first, the nose cone protecting the Starlink satellites and their deployer during the climb out of the lower atmosphere was making its second flight after an April launch atop a Falcon Heavy rocket.