The show began at 15:26 EDT (1926 GMT) when SpaceX launched 52 of its Starlink Internet satellites into orbit from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.
Then, at At 19:38 EDT (2338 GMT), a Falcon 9 lifted off with the SES-18 and SES-19 telecommunications satellites from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
Both missions went according to plan: the Starlink satellites were deployed into low Earth orbit (LEO) on schedule, and Falcon 9 successfully delivered SES-18 and SES-19 to geosynchronous transfer orbit.
Related: 8 Ways SpaceX Has Transformed Spaceflight
Both Falcon 9 first stages also returned safely to Earth, landing at sea on SpaceX drone ships less than nine minutes after liftoff.
It was the eighth liftoff and touchdown for the Starlink-launching Falcon 9 and the sixth for the rocket that lifted SES-18 and SES-19, according to SpaceX.
The 52 Starlink satellites join more than 3,700 other spacecraft (opens in new tab) in SpaceX’s vast broadband constellation, which will continue to grow far into the future: Elon Musk’s company has approval to deploy 12,000 Starlink satellites in LEO, and it has applied for permission to launch 30,000 more on top.
SES-18 and SES-19 went further afield. The duo is headed for geostationary orbit, about 22,200 miles (35,700 kilometers) above our planet. From that periphery, they will provide digital broadcast coverage to North America and help Luxembourg-based SES roll out 5G services in the US, according to EverydayAstronaut.com (opens in new tab).
Friday’s launches were the 18th and 19th of the year already for SpaceX. And the ascents will keep coming: Musk said last summer that SpaceX could launch up to 100 orbital missions by 2023.
Mike Wall is the author of “Out there (opens in new tab)” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the hunt for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or on Facebook (opens in new tab).