SpaceX's historic Falcon 9 booster that launched a pair of NASA astronauts aboard the Crew Dragon capsule in May and the ANASIS-II communications satellite for South Korea in July, deployed the thirteenth fleet of Starlink satellites this morning.
At around 7:29 a.m. EDT the twice-flown Falcon 9 lifted off for its third flight from Launch Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Liftoff! pic.twitter.com/b33QAIP7Mo— SpaceX (@SpaceX) October 6, 2020
Falcon 9’s first stage has landed on the Of Course I Still Love You droneship pic.twitter.com/Jpkeiw9dIn— SpaceX (@SpaceX) October 6, 2020
SpaceX also attempted to catch Falcon 9's payload fairing with twin ships, called 'Ms. Tree' and 'Ms. Chief', as each conducted a parachute-assisted landing at sea. "One of Falcon 9’s fairing halves supported two previous Starlink launches, and Ms. Tree successfully caught that fairing half after launch," SpaceX stated.
Ms. Tree caught the fairing half that flew in support of two previous missions! pic.twitter.com/p61bdBrdRP— SpaceX (@SpaceX) October 6, 2020
Once these satellites reach their target position, we will be able to roll out a fairly wide public beta in northern US & hopefully southern Canada. Other countries to follow as soon as we receive regulatory approval.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 6, 2020
The Starlink network is currently undergoing a private beta test among company employees. Users receive internet signal from the satellites in space via dish user terminals. SpaceX is also assessing the network out in the 'real world.' It provided free service to first responders in Washington State after a wildfire that destroyed a small town called Malden. -- "In the wake of the wildfires that devastated areas of the state in August, first responders there have been using the service for their purposes and to help bring the residents of Malden internet service while they rebuild their community," SpaceX stated, "Malden is located about 35 miles south of Spokane, Washington, which falls within the northern latitudes our satellites currently service. The way emergency responders deployed Starlink in this context is representative of how Starlink works best—in remote or rural areas where internet connectivity is unavailable," the company wrote.
SpaceX Starlink is supporting first responders as they help rebuild small town after wildfireshttps://t.co/u6AIYw7O1e— Tesmanian.com (@Tesmanian_com) September 28, 2020