SpaceX Launches its Fifth Batch of Starlink Satellites, Misses Booster Landing

Ross Houston
February 18, 2020

Falcon 9's reusable first stage missed a landing on SpaceX's drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean. Video published on Twitter.

USA private space company SpaceX launched its fifth batch of 60 Starlink satellites into space on Monday, in an effort to build at minimum a 12,000-strong satellite network capable of providing broadband internet services.

The Starlink satellites that the rocket was carrying have proven controversial: though the company says they will together form a "megaconstellation" that will give fast internet connections to people on Earth, astronomers have argued that they are clogging up the skies and making traditional observations more hard.

Future Starlink launches will continue to use the lower drop-off point in order to shorten the mission and ease the load on the rocket, Jessie Anderson, a lead manufacturing engineer at SpaceX, said while co-narrating the launch. However, they missed a milestone rocket landing on what was the company's fourth flight of the year.

The launch went off without a hitch following a 24-hour delay due to an issue with a valve component on the rocket's second stage.

As part of the Starlink project, the company plans to launch a total of 12,000 internet satellites by 2027. The rocket was the fourth rocket used by the company 4 times. The booster had a lifespan, as it launched three previous SpaceX missions in 2019 before Monday's Starlink mission.

SpaceX is optimistic that it landed intact, SpaceX representatives said.

To make sure, SpaceX has misplaced just a few rocket boosters since then.

SpaceX will also be attempting to recover the rocket's expensive payload fairings with two recovery ships (GO Ms Tree and GO Ms Chief - aka Mystery and Mischief).

SpaceX has now launched 302 Starlink satellites, counting two prototypes launched in 2018. Not exclusively has SpaceX gotten actually good at catching and reusing its rocket levels, however it's additionally doing it quicker than ever.

Founded in 2002, SpaceX aims to revolutionize space technology, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets, according to its website.

Musk has not yet responded to the study or the criticisms of astronomers, but in May past year, he discussed the possibility of making the Starlink satellites less reflective.

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