SpaceX kicked off 2020 with the report-breaking launch of its third batch of Starlink satellites. Sixty of the web-beaming satellites launched atop a used Falcon 9 booster on Monday, Jan. 6.
The Falcon 9 rocket roared to life at 9:19 p.m., raising off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station right here in Florida. Its 9 Merlin 1D engines lit up the night time sky above the house coast because it climbed in the direction of orbit.
The mission was the primary launch below the watch of the newly minted U.S. Space Force, an army department that President Donald Trump signed into legislation last month.
The satellites traveled into space atop a reused Falcon 9 first stage, marking the second time the corporate has flown a booster four occasions. The star of this mission, dubbed B1049.4 by SpaceX, beforehand lofted the primary batch of Starlink satellites in addition to the Iridium-8 and Telstar 18 VANTAGE missions.
SpaceX designed its souped-up Falcon 9 rocket to fly as many as 10 occasions with solely gentle refurbishments in between. The corporate has but to fly a booster five occasions, however with four profitable flights beneath this booster’s belt, it is seemingly that it might fly once more sooner or later.
The launch is a part of the personal spaceflight firm’s plan to create a constellation of small broadband satellites, every weighing barely greater than 485 lbs. (220 kilograms), that can present web protection to the world under. With this launch, it brings SpaceX’s burgeoning constellation as much as 180 satellites, making it the biggest satellite fleet in orbit.
SpaceX is just not the one aerospace firm with plans of connecting the globe. OneWeb launched its first set of six satellites in 2019; however, SpaceX (with its personal rockets) has shortly amassed a large constellation.
Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO and founder, has stated the corporate will want no less than 400 satellites in orbit to supply minimal protection, and at the least 800 to supply reasonable protection. That protection may start sometime this year, with it rolling out first in parts of the U.S. and Canada.