SpaceX Launches More Internet Satellites Aboard Well-Traveled Rocket

Yolanda Curtis
November 25, 2020

Elon Musk's SpaceX successfully launched another Starlink mission on Tuesday with its Falcon 9 rocket, marking the 100 Falcon 9 flight. The other half was from the gift of an earlier veteran launch.

As the booster and cruise shells descended to Earth, the upper stage of the Falcon 9 pointed the 60 flat-plate Starlink satellites into a transmission orbit inclined 53 degrees to the equator.

This is the sixteenth Starlink constellation that SpaceX is putting into orbit. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has said the company needs 800 satellites in space to capitalize " substantial functional abilities".

SpaceX has launched yet another Starlink mission, adding 60 more Starlink satellites to its low-Earth orbit constellation.

The two-stage Falcon 9 rocket took off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 9:13 p.m. on Tuesday. The goal of Starlink is to envelop Earth with a network of 42,000 satellites beaming down high-speed internet. This may have been the most cost-effective launch for the company.

There may be another opportunity to try a record-breaking mission on Monday, although it will depend on the launch site and favorable weather across the Atlantic Ocean.

The quarter-ton Starlink satellites built by SpaceX in Redmond, Washington, were expected to launch energy-generating solar arrays and direct their krypton ion engines to begin raising their orbits to an operating altitude of 341 miles (550 km).

"A global network limited by the current performance and ground infrastructure limitations compared to the Performance Satellite Internet, Starlink will deliver high-speed broadband Internet to places where access is unreliable, expensive or not fully available".

There are already more than 800 Starlink satellites in operation, now being used in limited quantities in the Northeast of the United States and Canada.

"For the seventh time, this Falcon has landed", SpaceX engineer Kate Tice said in the live launch broadcast. The service is now operating in beta, and recently expanded from parts of the areas in southern Canada.

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