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SpaceX launches 60 Starlink satellites

2019-05-24 17:47 by
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On Thursday night, SpaceX launched a batch of 60 internet communications satellites, part of its Starlink constellation that aims to provide rural areas with Internet. The launch took place just shortly after 10:30 p.m. local time, with the Falcon 9's first stage booster landing approximately nine minutes after takeoff on the Of Course I Still Love You droneship, located in the Atlantic Ocean.

While this is the first non-test launch, the satellites aren't as feature-rich as the final production version the company intends to ship. Unlike the final version, they won't be able to communicate with each other; they'll communicate with the center on earth and move accordingly.

Starlink won't be able to provide "minor" coverage until about 400 spacecraft are up and running, and "moderate" coverage requires about 800 operational satellites, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk said. Plans SpaceX filed with the FCC said it intends to have 12,000 of the Starlink units in orbit by the mid-2020s, providing internet connections capable of up to 1Gbps even in rural areas.

"In a year and a half, maybe two years, if things go well, SpaceX will probably have more satellites in orbit than all other satellites combined — a majority of the satellites in orbit will be SpaceX," Musk said last week during a prelaunch teleconference with reporters.

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