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SpaceX Launches 60 ‘Starlink’ Satellites to Bring Cheaper Global Internet

Starlink is targeted to offer service in parts of the U.S. and Canada after six launches, rapidly expanding to global coverage of the populated world after 24 launches

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SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk, left, speaks during an event. VOA

Elon Musk-run SpaceX has launched 60 “Starlink” satellites into low-Earth orbit from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida that will bring cheaper Internet access to the world.

The 60 mini satellites went into space aboard Falcon 9 rocket, ending a nearly three-month launch hiatus for the company.

The “Starlink” satellites will be deployed at an altitude of 280 km to beam broadband Internet services.

Prior to orbit raise, SpaceX engineers were to conduct data reviews to ensure all Starlink satellites are operating as intended.

“Once the checkouts are complete, the satellites will then use their onboard ion thrusters to move into their intended orbits,a SpaceX said in a statement late Monday.

The 60 Starlink satellites are part of the second batch of SpaceXs broadband Internet mega constellation.

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla. Wikimedia Commons

SpaceX is developing a low latency, broadband internet system to meet the needs of consumers across the globe.

Enabled by a constellation of low Earth-orbit satellites, Starlink will provide fast, reliable internet to populations with little or no connectivity, including those in rural communities and places where existing services are too expensive or unreliable, the company said in a statement.

Since the most recent launch of Starlink satellites in May, SpaceX has increased spectrum capacity for the end-user through upgrades in design that maximise the use of both Ka and Ku bands.

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Additionally, the components of each satellite are 100 per cent demisable and will quickly burn up in Earth’s atmosphere at the end of their life cycle – a measure that exceeds all current safety standards.

Starlink is targeted to offer service in parts of the U.S. and Canada after six launches, rapidly expanding to global coverage of the populated world after 24 launches. (IANS)

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SpaceX Launches 60 Mini Satellites for Cheaper Global Internet

The Falcon rocket blasted into the morning sky, marking the unprecedented fourth flight of a booster for SpaceX

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SpaceX, Satellites, Global
FILE - A Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket, with a payload of 60 satellites for SpaceX's Starlink broadband network, lifts off from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Florida, May 23, 2019. VOA

SpaceX launched 60 mini satellites Monday, the second batch of an orbiting network meant to provide global internet coverage.

The Falcon rocket blasted into the morning sky, marking the unprecedented fourth flight of a booster for SpaceX. The compact flat-panel satellites – just 575 pounds (260 kilograms) each – will join 60 launched in May.

SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk wants to put thousands of these Starlink satellites in orbit, to offer high-speed internet service everywhere. He plans to start service next year in the northern U.S. and Canada, with global coverage for populated areas after 24 launches.

Last month, Musk used an orbiting Starlink satellite to send a tweet: “Whoa, it worked!!”

SpaceX, Satellites, Global
SpaceX employees work on the Crew Dragon spacecraft that will astronauts to and from the International Space Station, from American soil, as part of the agency’s commercial crew Program, in Hawthorne, Calif., Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019. VOA

Employees gathered at company bases on both coasts cheered when the first-stage booster landed on a floating platform in the Atlantic.

“These boosters are designed to be used 10 times. Let’s turn it around for a fifth, guys,” company’s launch commentator said.

This also marked the first time SpaceX used a previously flown nose cone. The California-based company reuses rocket parts to cut costs.

Stacked flat inside the top of the rocket, the newest satellites were going to maneuver even higher following liftoff, using krypton-powered thrusters. SpaceX said there was a potential problem with one of the 60 that could prevent it from moving beyond its initial 174 mile-high (280 kilometer-high) orbit. In that case, the faulty satellite will be commanded to re-enter and burn up harmlessly in the atmosphere.

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Each satellite has an autonomous system for dodging space junk. In September, however, the European Space Agency had to move one of its satellites out of the way of a Starlink satellite. SpaceX later said it corrected the problem.

SpaceX is among several companies interested in providing broadband internet coverage worldwide, especially in areas where it costs too much or is unreliable. Others include OneWeb and Jeff Bezos’ Amazon.

According to Musk, Starlink revenue can help SpaceX develop rockets and spacecraft for traveling to Mars, his overriding ambition. (VOA)