SpaceX places 60 satellites in orbit with first ever recycled fairing

Ruben Fields
November 17, 2019

SpaceX has already sent up 62 Starlink satellites in total, across two test batch launches: Two launched in February 2018 from Vandenberg in California, aboard a rocket that was also transporting a satellite called "Paz" for a client, and 60 launched in May of this year, a large test batch that was used to trial ground-based communications, as well as controlled de-orbiting mechanisms.

These satellites are being put in place because Space X is developing a broadband internet system for consumers around the world. It was the fourth time SpaceX used the same booster rocket to carry a payload into orbit. After a long hiatus of 6 months, the Starlink L1 satellites will be the first group of satellites for SpaceX's satellite internet constellation.

Lauren Lyons, SpaceX Starlink told Space.com the boosters are created to be used ten times.

SpaceX's facilities in Redmond, Wash., are playing a key role in building the Starlink satellites for that constellation.

Musk said it needed at least 12 launches of other satellites to realize his goal of providing consistent internet coverage worldwide.

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Elon Musk tweeted earlier this year using a connection provided by a Starlink satellite for the first time, and the company aims to launch service for customers in the US and Canada following six total launches of Starlink satellites like this one, with service expanding globally after a planned 24 similar launches. However, he said the initial results are concerning, with Starlink satellites clocking in on a regular basis at magnitudes from 4 to 7, quite bright enough to see sans the use of a telescope.

SpaceX isn't the only one going after that ability with competitors including OneWeb, TeleSat and even Amazon eyeing the market. "Once the checkouts are complete, the satellites will then use their onboard ion thrusters to move into their intended orbits". Numerous satellites will remain in very-low Earth orbit (VLEO) to improve connectivity.

About 10 minutes after the launch, the first-stage rocket booster successfully landed on a drone ship in the Atlantic off the Florida coast. He plans to start the service next year in the northern U.S. and Canada, with global coverage for populated areas after 24 launches.

Not only are there 60 more Starlink satellites now in orbit, but SpaceX also achieved two new milestones with this launch. The satellites are scheduled to begin deploying about an hour after the launch. Each satellite weighs 260 kg.

In response to those concerns, SpaceX boss Elon Musk said the company would consider reducing the albedo of the satellites I.e how much light they reflect, by painting them black.

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