The U.S. private space company SpaceX launched its second batch of 60 Starlink satellites into space on Monday, in an effort to build a 12,000-strong or even more satellite network capable of providing broadband internet services.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with the Dragon spacecraft onboard, launches from pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center on June 3, 2017 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The company plans to launch the internet service in United States and Canada first. The booster had flown three times before - so today's mission marked the first time the same rocket booster has been launched and recovered four times. In September, however, the European Space Agency had to move one of its satellites out of the way of a Starlink satellite. SpaceX is still aiming to catch both halves of the fairing in the next hour using two netted ships named "Ms. Tree" and "Ms. Chief". The 60 Starlink satellites are part of the second batch of SpaceXs broadband Internet mega constellation.
Enabled by a constellation of low Earth-orbit satellites, Starlink will provide like a flash, official cyber web to populations with diminutive or no connectivity, alongside with these in rural communities and locations where original companies are too costly or unreliable, the firm said in an announcement. OneWeb is the next competitor to enter into the game, due to deploy 32 satellites from a Soyuz rocket launching out of the Baikonur Cosmodrome on December 19th.
The first set of 60 flat-panel spacecraft was launched back in May and is now undergoing orbital tests. He plans to start service next year in the northern US and Canada. The Starlink deployment system releases satellites like a deck of cards.
SpaceX representatives have said the company has taken steps to ensure that its satellites can be deorbited if they're not working properly.
In response, SpaceX said it will make the surfaces of future Starlink satellites less reflective, but those changes were not put in place on the batch launched Monday, according to Spaceflight Now.
In the mission description for today's launch, SpaceX states that Starlink will begin commercial internet services after just six launches (with about 360 satellites in orbit) by offering broadband coverage to users "in parts of the USA and Canada". In the days after launch, those satellites could be seen as streaks in the night sky, and that's likely to be the case this time as well. The total number of satellites that might ultimately end up in orbit is not yet known.
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