Economy

SpaceX just deployed 60 Starlink Internet Satellites, the first of 12,000

SpaceX just deployed 60 Starlink Internet Satellites, the first of 12,000”

The launch of the 60 "Starlink" satellites aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral was scrubbed twice last week, once due to upper-level winds over the Cape and once to give the company a chance to "update satellite software and triple-check everything again".

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket is due for liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida during a 90-minute launch window that opens at 10:30 p.m. ET (7:30 p.m. PT) today. "Always want to do everything we can on the ground to maximize mission success".

Space fans can catch the webcast of the Starlink launch via SpaceX's website or through the company's official YouTube channel.

After failing to launch Starlink satellites on Wednesday, SpaceX is looking to have another crack at sending its internet satellites into space this week.

The awards were part of a coveted Air Force initiative known as the Launch Service Agreement program, aimed at developing new American-made rockets that can take military satellites into orbit.

According to SpaceX, "Starlink is a next-generation satellite network capable of connecting the globe, especially reaching those who are not yet connected, with reliable and affordable broadband internet services". Each satellite weighs 500 pounds apiece and contains a single solar array, tiny thrusters, a navigation system that allows SpaceX to find them in orbit and a handful of high-throughput antennas, so they can flick signals around. In 2018, the space company sent a Falcon 9 rocket with its prototype satellites named Tintin A and Tintin B.

The launch was "the heaviest payload a Falcon 9 [rocket] has ever launched, or Falcon Heavy, for that matter", SpaceX CEO Elon Musk told reporters before the mission.

Musk said the 60 Starlink satellites will be identical to the version set for mass production.

"There is a lot of new technology here, and it's possible that some of these satellites may not work and, in fact, a small possibility that all the satellites will not work", he said. Musk noted that providing "minor" internet coverage would require six more launches of 60 satellites each, while offering "moderate" coverage would require another 12 such launches.

Around an hour and two minutes after takeoff, the payload of Starlink satellites were successfully deployed at an altitude of 440 km above Earth, where they slowly separated from each other as they drifted into space.

The launch will make it an early forerunner, along with rival OneWeb, a startup, but well ahead of Amazon's Project Kuiper, the brainchild of Musk's space rival Jeff Bezos. Subsequent launches would carry around 60 satellites after that.



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