SpaceX Starlink launch: Falcon 9 rocket still a record-setting workhorse

26 Novembre, 2020, 15:52 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • SpaceX engineers answering questions on Reddit about Starlink’s ‘Better than Nothing’ beta

Carrying the ~1200 kg (~2600 lb) Sentinel 6A oceanography and Earth observation satellite, a brand new Falcon 9 rocket (including booster B1063) lifted off on schedule from SpaceX's Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) SLC-4E launch pad at 9:17 am PST (17:17 UTC).

Shortly after launch, the SpaceX booster landed on the Atlantic transship Course I Still Love You, and was set to try to catch two parts of the nose cone or another pair of ships.

SpaceX finally launched the rocket at 6:13 p.m. California time Tuesday, despite some gusting winds that were being carefully watched right up until liftoff.

SpaceX has been forced to scrub the potential record-breaking launch of its latest batch of Starlink satellites. That's good news for its efforts to blanket the globe in high-speed broadband, and today's flight is better still news for its equally important ambition of developing more reusable rocket systems, since the first-stage booster that helped launch today's Falcon 9 rocket made a record-breaking seventh trip. The fair halves were also recycled, with one half making up its second plane and the other its third plane.

The Falcon 9 booster used for Tuesday's flight previously flew on the Iridium-7 mission in 2019, the Telstar 18 Vantage mission in 2018, and four Starlink missions. The spacecraft deployed from Falcon 9 a few minutes later, wrapping up the mission and signifying the completion of Falcon 9's 98th successful launch and 100th mission overall, as well as SpaceX 22nd launch this year - a record for the company.

It was the 16th launch of satellites for the Starlink service, pushing the array to almost 1,000 satellites overall.

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The company is developing a low latency, broadband internet system.

The email also inferred there would be short intervals of no connectivity, and that latency and data accelerations would enhance as the company readies to initiate more satellites and installs more ground devices.

There are now nearly 1,000 Starlink satellites in low-Earth orbit for the space-based internet service. The service is now operating in beta, and recently expanded from parts of the areas in southern Canada.

In November, SpaceX obtained approval from Canadian authorities to begin beta testing of Starlink in the country, allowing a "fairly large public beta" in southern Canada.

"For the seventh time, this Falcon has landed", SpaceX engineer Kate Tice said in the live launch broadcast.



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