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SpaceX aims to launch another batch of 60 Starlink satellites over the weekend

by Evelyn Arevalo February 12, 2020

SpaceX aims to launch another batch of 60 Starlink satellites over the weekend

Featured Image Source: SpaceX/Edit by Tesmanian

SpaceX has a record breaking rocket launch manifest this year, with Starlink dedicated launches scheduled for at least twice per month. All in an effort to finish building the Starlink constellation which will beam low latency, high-speed internet across the globe. SpaceX aims to conduct 24 Starlink launches this year carrying 60 satellites each, which will enable them to begin offering services to some parts of Canada and Northern United States by the end of the year. According to SpaceX, Starlink will begin as a constellation consisting of approximately 1,584 satellites in low Earth orbit, they have approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to operate as many as 12,000 satellites. SpaceX has informed global regulators that in the future they might seek permission to deploy 30,000 more, for a Starlink constellation totaling 42,000. So far, the rocket company has deployed a total of 230 satellites, with deployments scheduled for approximately twice a month, each rocket launch deploys a batch of 60 satellites atop a Falcon 9 rocket. Every deployment of 60 satellites could deliver 1 terabit of bandwidth, that could potentially support 40,000 users streaming ultra-high-definition content at the same time. 

Source: SpaceX Starlink

The next launch, will be the fifth Starlink launch that will bring up the satellite count to 300 satellites in low Earth orbit. The mission is scheduled for no earlier than Saturday, February 15. at 10:46 a.m. EST liftoff from Launch Complex 40 in Cape Canaveral, Florida; launch window closes at 11:02 a.m. EST. According to the Air Force's 45th Weather Squadron, forecasters are expecting 60% "Go" conditions, stating:

"For the launch window Saturday morning, a few showers will linger off the coast. With low-level winds from the east, there is a slight chance for cumulus clouds to reach the area during the window. Therefore, the primary concerns for launch are Liftoff Winds and the Cumulus Cloud Rule."

If weather conditions delay the launch to Sunday, conditions look more favorable with a 90% chance of "Go" weather.



SpaceX's Starlink broadband internet satellites could benefit the world in a variety of ways. To begin with, Starlink's satellite internet will transmit its signal faster to anywhere on the planet at the speed of light, bypassing the limitations of our current internet infrastructure that involves fiber optic cables and thousands of tower base stations. Starlink's broadband internet will be affordable enough that areas where internet is non-existent, or unreliable will benefit from their service. According to SpaceX officials, Starlink customers will receive internet connection via a small terminal that "looks like a thin, flat, round UFO on a stick," meaning it is a circular shape antenna attached on a stick to lift the unit up. The device's technology is advanced enough to find the signal on its own, "Starlink terminal has motors to self-adjust optimal angle to view sky," users will not have to figure out where the Starlink constellation might be nor adjust the terminal as it moves through the sky, it would automatically move itself.

 



SpaceX has also been discussing the possibility of transforming Starlink into a separate company, to allow it to become publicly traded in the stock market. Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s president and chief operating officer, announced the plans Thursday (February 6) at a private investor event in Miami, Bloomberg reported. “Right now, we are a private company, but Starlink is the right kind of business that we can go ahead and take public,” said Shotwell, “That particular piece is an element of the business that we are likely to spin out and go public.” SpaceX is considering taking the Starlink project public, potentially in the next several years.

Evelyn Arevalo
Evelyn Arevalo

SpaceX Boca Chica correspondent. Writer specialized in spaceflight and space exploration. Rocket connoisseur.




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