SpaceX's workhorse Falcon 9 rocket lifted its heaviest payload ever into low Earth orbit on Thursday morning (Jan. 26), launching 56 new Starlink internet-beaming satellites.

The Falcon 9 first-stage booster that propelled the mission during its ascent through Earth's atmosphere had been used eight times previously, including on two crewed missions to the International Space Station

Another batch of 56 Starlink satellites rocketed into orbit from Cape Canaveral before dawn Thursday aboard a Falcon 9 launcher, continuing the deployment of SpaceX’s second-generation internet constellation begun last month.

The mission will be the fifth launch by SpaceX so far this year, and the 69th launch launch with a primary purpose of placing Starlink internet satellites into orbit. With the 56 fresh spacecraft set for launch Tuesday,

The 56 Starlink satellites, weighing a combined 17.4 metric tonnes (19.4 tons), according to a SpaceX commentator, were protected by a five times reused fairing during the ascent.

The launch will add yet more satellites to SpaceX's giant Starlink constellation, which provides internet service to customers around the world.

The mission is designated Starlink 5-2, and follows the first Starlink launch into the Gen2 network Dec. 28, which carried 54 satellites.

The satellites on the first Gen2 launch last month appeared similar, or identical, to Starlink spacecraft SpaceX is already launching to complete its first-generation network, and not the larger Gen2 satellites destined to fly on the huge new Starship rocket