SpaceX launches 60 more mini satellites for global internet

SpaceX launches 60 more mini satellites for global internet

SpaceX launches 60 more mini satellites for global internet

SpaceX is targeting Monday, November 11 at 9:56 a.m. EST, 14:56 UTC, for launch of 60 Starlink satellites from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.

"Enabled by a constellation of low Earth orbit satellites, Starlink will provide fast, reliable internet to populations with little or no connectivity, including those in rural communities and places where existing services are too expensive or unreliable", the company said.

Prior to Monday's mission, Musk shared photos of the launch site and payload on Twitter over the weekend, noting that it would be the fourth mission for Falcon 9's reusable first stage and the second for the fairing.

SpaceX's goal is to have nearly 12,000 satellites operating in low-Earth orbit, with plans to launch an additional 30,000 satellites in the future.

The booster had flown three times before - so today's mission marked the first time the same rocket booster has been launched and recovered four times.

"The number of such satellites is projected to grow into the tens of thousands over the next several years, creating the potential for substantial adverse impacts to ground- and space-based astronomy". He plans to start service next year in the northern USA and Canada, with global coverage for populated areas after 24 launches. Lauren Lyons, an engineer on SpaceX's Starlink team, said during the launch webcast that the satellites have 400% more throughput, can generate twice as many phased array broadband beams, and sport a new Ka-band antenna system.

At present, there are slightly more than 2,100 active satellites in orbit around the Earth. Each satellite weighs about 260 kg (573 lbs), which combine to form the heaviest payload ever launched by Space X at over 15.6 metric tons (34,000 lbs).

SpaceX launched the second batch of Starlink satellites into an altitude 160 kilometers lower than those in its May launch, meaning defunct satellites will deorbit more rapidly. Elon Musk, SpaceX's founder and CEO, said in May that Starlink would be "economically viable" at 1,000 satellites, with additional spacecraft supporting customer demand.

SpaceX employees in Redmond, Wash., give a cheer during the countdown to the Falcon 9 launch.

Also on October 22, coinciding with when Musk sent that tweet, SpaceX president and chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell told reporters that when someone signs up for Starlink internet, "they are going to receive a box from SpaceX with a user terminal and a cord". Musk has also tweeted through the satellites.

SpaceX has a vision of blanketing the world with Internet coverage from satellites operating in space.

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