SpaceX Successfully Launches Falcon 9 With Nearly 12000 Starlink Satellites

Yolanda Curtis
February 23, 2018

Finally, Elon Musk made a decision to pull off the launch on February 22 during pre-dawn while the rocket deploying the second stage was clearly seen from the Californian coast.

The launch has been anticipated in Southern California because of the potential for wide visibility. After the fairing separated from the Falcon 9's second stage, it fell back to Earth and deployed a parafoil to slow its fall to the Pacific Ocean.

The other two satellites belong to SpaceX's Starlink constellation that was deployed.

Successful deployment of PAZ satellite to low-Earth orbit confirmed.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk tweeted video of the two satellites, Tintin A and B, entering Earth's orbit. Today's launch was the beginning of their planned 12,000 satellite constellation which will beam Internet down to nearly anywhere on Earth.

Originally scheduled for launch from the Yasny Launch Base, Russia, in 2014, the scheme was delayed due to Russia's annexation of Crimea that year, leading to the expense of a 15Million euros International Court of Arbitration legal battle between Hisdesat and Moscow-based space company Kosmotras. The primary cargo is a satellite called PAZ (Spanish for peace), which will spend the next five years carrying out radar and imaging for the Spanish government.

These 2 satellites in addition to Paz are called the Microsat-2a and Microsat-2b are set to be the first in Elon Musk's vision to transmit internet to Earth from space.

Although Musk and the rest of SpaceX have refrained from discussing the Starlink project, regular communications with the FCC have given us a window into the process.

If successful, the two prototype satellites will help pave the way for SpaceX's plans to launch almost 12,000 satellites to low Earth orbit as soon as 2024. This launch had a secondary objective, however, and one that might ultimately be more important to SpaceX's long-term goals. Musk described the ship as "a giant catcher's mitt in boat form".

"Missed by a few hundred meters, but fairing landed intact in water", Musk said of the hardware valued at around $6 million.

The new launch date was set for February 21, but about 20 minutes before the 6:17 a.m. liftoff time, the launch was delayed because of "strong upper level winds" and moved to February 22. During the February 6 mission, the payload fairings held the now-famous midnight-cherry Tesla Roadster and its driver, a mannequin known as Starman.

Musk ultimately wants to make space travel cheap enough that even Average Joes can access the cosmos-or Mars.

Falcon 9 and PAZ are vertical on Space Launch Complex 4 East (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

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