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SpaceX launched its latest batch of Starlink internet satellites from Florida on Friday, kicking off a busy weekend of launches just after company employees were fired for criticizing founder Elon Musk’s behavior .

The 12:09 p.m. liftoff from Kennedy Space Center pad 39A marked the 49th mission for Starlink, a constellation of satellites that provide internet coverage to parts of the globe, including North America, Europe and the United States. Australia. SpaceX has launched nearly 3,000 flat-packed spacecraft to date.

Shortly after launch and a flight to the northeast, the 162-foot first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket landed on the Shortfall of Gravitas drone in the Atlantic Ocean. This made the SpaceX booster the record leader with 13 launches to date.

But the endeavor isn’t quite done: Next, crews from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California will target 7:19 a.m. PT on Saturday, June 18, to launch a radar satellite for the German military known as SARah 1. This Falcon 9 mission will include a local landing at Vandenberg Landing Zone 4.

Then, on Sunday, June 19, the focus returns to Florida as teams pull in here for another Falcon 9 launch, this time from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. Liftoff of a communications satellite for US company Globalstar is scheduled for 12:27 a.m. EDT. After flying northeast, Falcon 9 will again land on a drone ship in the Atlantic.

SpaceX lays off employees for letter

Friday’s launch followed a New York Times report noting that SpaceX quickly fired several employees for writing a letter exposing founder Elon Musk’s behavior in recent months.

Thursday, The edge first reported that a group of employees were preparing a letter decrying Elon Musk’s behavior ranging from tweets to alleged incidents of sexual harassment. The New York Times So was the first to report early Friday that employees were fired for spreading the letter.

“Elon’s behavior in the public sphere has been a frequent source of distraction and embarrassment for us, particularly in recent weeks,” the letter said. “As CEO and most prominent spokesperson, Elon is considered the face of SpaceX – every Tweet Elon sends is a de facto public statement of the company.”

In recent weeks, Musk has spoken out, particularly on Twitter, on several topics ranging from attacks on Bill Gates to work-from-home policies at his companies. A recent Initiated The report also alleged that SpaceX paid a former company flight attendant $250,000 after she accused Musk of asking for sexual favors during a massage.

In a response sent to SpaceX employees, also obtained by The temperaturecompany president Gwynne Shotwell said the letter was “excessive activism”.

“The letter, the solicitations and the general process made employees feel uncomfortable, intimidated and intimidated and/or angry because the letter caused them to sign something that did not reflect their point of view,” said said Shotwell. “We have too much critical work to do and we don’t need this kind of excessive activism.”

No report identified which employees or how many were involved in writing the letter. SpaceX did not respond to requests for comment.

For the latest information, visit

Contact Emre Kelly at or 321-242-3715. Follow him on TwitterFacebook and Instagram at @EmreKelly.

Launch Sunday June 19:

  • Rocket: SpaceX Falcon 9

  • Mission: Globalstar communications satellite

  • Launch Time: Between 12:25 a.m. and 12:35 a.m. ET

  • Location: Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station

  • Trajectory: North-East

  • Landing: drone ship

  • Weather: 70% “leave”

Visit at 11:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, June 18 for real-time updates and live video.

This article originally appeared on Florida Today: SpaceX launches Starlink from Florida; employees fired for Musk letter


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