SpaceX deploys 20 Starlink satellites equipped with Direct to Cell technology

SpaceX successfully launched its Falcon 9 rocket into orbit on Tuesday night, carrying 20 Starlink satellites, some of which are equipped with Direct to Cell capabilities. These capabilities will enhance access to text and voice data on Earth.

The rocket took off at 10:16 p.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex 40 at Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, with mission control announcing, “Ignition and liftoff. Go Falcon. Go Starlink.” Two-and-a-half minutes into the flight, the stage separation was confirmed, and the first stage of the rocket landed on the Just Read the Instructions droneship in the Atlantic Ocean six minutes later.

This launch marked the 20th flight for the first stage booster, which had previously been used for various missions including CRS-22, Crew-3, Turksat 5B, and several Starlink missions. SpaceX also highlighted that this mission had the fastest turnaround for a passive fairing half. The same fairing half had been used in a Starlink mission launch less than two weeks prior, showcasing SpaceX’s commitment to refurbishment and reuse of components.

Of the 20 Starlink satellites launched, 13 are equipped with Direct to Cell capabilities, offering seamless access to LTE phones worldwide for text, voice, and data services. SpaceX continues to expand its Starlink constellation to provide global internet coverage and improve connectivity for users around the world.