SpaceX Successfully Launches 60 Starlink Satellites Into Space

11 Novembre, 2019, 20:48 | Auteur: Therese Cote

The launch took place at Cape Canaveral in Florida, and the Falcon 9 rocket used included a booster stage that has flown not once, not twice - but three times previously. And for a special bonus trick, Elon Musk's space company carried out Monday's mission - the launch of its latest batch of broadband satellites - using a recycled fairing, or nose cone, a first. One of SpaceX's launch commentators gave a nod to Veterans Day as the rocket rose: "With gratitude to our veterans, today and always, go United States of America!"

Monday's satellite launch is the "heaviest payload to date, first re-flight of a fairing, and first Falcon 9 to fly a fourth mission", the company said in a tweet prior to the launch.

When the first group of 60 Starlink satellites hit the skies in May, the train of metal birds was easily identified by night sky watchers for a brief period, leading to alarm from astronomers who anxious about the new reflective surfaces interfering with observations of the cosmos. The Starlink deployment system releases satellites like a deck of cards. "Once the checkouts are complete, the satellites will then use their onboard ion thrusters to move into their intended orbits".

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SpaceX has a vision of blanketing the world with Internet coverage from satellites operating in space. The goal is to operate a global constellation that provides connectivity via orbital satellites handing off connections to one another as they circle the globe - a different approach from current geostationary satellite connectivity, in which few large satellites essentially sit over one part of the Earth and provide connections just to that region. The Starlink satellite tally could eventually run into the tens of thousands, based on recent regulatory filings. SpaceX's Starlink satellites are designed and built in Redmond.

The first set of 60 flat-panel spacecraft was launched back in May and is now undergoing orbital tests. In the days after launch, those satellites could be seen as streaks in the night sky, and that's likely to be the case this time as well. SpaceX later said it corrected the problem.

SpaceX has demonstrated speeds of 610 megabits per second using Starlink satellites with the USA military. On the eve of the launch, SpaceX said one of the satellites may not be able to raise its orbit - but the satellites are created to burn up completely in the atmosphere once their orbits decay.

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