SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket delivers 60 Starlink satellites to orbit

Space X Falcon

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched a new batch of 60 Starlink Internet satellites into the orbit on Thursday and landed it on a floating platform at sea to complete the long-awaited mission.

The satellites will join more than 1,000 already existing constellations. This is the fifth launch of Starlink satellites for SpaceX this year, and the twentieth overall.

The successful liftoff came just a few hours after SpaceX’s starship prototype, SN10, which successfully completed a high-altitude test flight at the company’s facilities in Texas at 6:15 p.m. EST (2315 GMT). The stainless-steel launcher soared 6.2 miles (10 kilometers) in the sky, before touching back down. The flight went as planned, but the massive vehicle exploded shortly thereafter.

Earlier this year, SpaceX opened up Starlink’s access to anyone in a current or planned service area via a pre-order reservation system, with a refundable up-front deposit.

The company aims to continue complete launches like this, throughout 2021 in order to get the constellation to the point where it can serve customers over a much larger portion of the globe.

SpaceX COO and President Gwynne Shotwell has previously said that the company expects it should have coverage over much of the globe at a constellation size of around 1,200 satellites, but the company has plans to launch more than 30,000 to fully build out its network capacity and speed.

While SpaceX is making good progress on Starlink with its Falcon 9 launcher, it’s also looking ahead to Starship as a key driver of the constellation’s growth. Starship, SpaceX’s next-generation launch vehicle is currently under development in South Texas. It will be able to deliver 400 Starlink satellites to orbit at a time, and it’s also being designed with full reusability and fast turnaround in mind.

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  • Online Team Asia Tech is a team of Journalists, Entrepreneurs, and Enthusiast Writers who contribute to the platform by bringing everyday stories, updates, opinions and insights from the Asian Startup Ecosystem.

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