Falcon 9

SpaceX’s Starlink Broadband Constellation Continues To Grow To Connect People Across The World

SpaceX’s Starlink Broadband Constellation Continues To Grow To Connect People Across The World

SpaceX’s Starlink broadband constellation continues to grow as it deploys more satellites to orbit almost on a weekly basis. The company aims to connect people across the world to high-speed internet by 2022. SpaceX is already delivering Starlink internet in the U.S. and abroad to select customers who pre-ordered via Starlink.com based on their location. Today, May 26, SpaceX conducted the 29th Starlink mission. “With every launch we get closer to connecting more people across the world,” SpaceX Dragon propulsion engineer Youmei Zhou said during the mission's Live broadcast. “As they launch more satellites, install more ground stations and continue to improve our networking software, our data speed latency and uptime will improve dramatically,” they said.  A previously-flown Falcon 9 rocket lifted off under Florida’s sunny sky at 2:59 p.m. EDT from Launch Pad-40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The booster that supported this afternoon’s mission is designated as B1063-2, which also launched NASA’s Sentinel-6A Mission to space. The booster propelled a batch of 60 more satellites to orbit inside a previously used payload fairing. “Today's flight will mark the 40th time SpaceX has reflown Falcon fairing halves since November 2019,” SpaceX shared, “This will also be the first time we fly a fairing half on its fifth mission.” 

Booster 1063-2 was recovered a second time. Around nine minutes after propelling Falcon 9’s second-stage to orbit, the first-stage booster crossed Earth’s rough atmosphere and landed on the ‘Just Read The Instructions’ autonomous droneship situated in the Atlantic Ocean. It is SpaceX’s 85th landing of an orbital-class rocket booster. The mission marked the 100th consecutive successful launch of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle and the 16th rocket launch of 2021. The company significantly increased its launch cadence the past months, they are launching at an incredible pace – once every five to nine days.

The batch of 60 satellites were released to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) approximately 45-minutes after liftoff, increasing the Starlink constellation size to around 1,737 satellites deployed to date (video below). However not all of these are operational. According to data by Center for Astrophysics astronomer Jonathan McDowell, around 1,664 satellites are in orbit, others are either deorbited or in the process of it. Today’s 29th Starlink mission also marked the completion of the constellation’s first orbital shell, that consists of over 1,584 operational satellites. Shell 1 satellites will finish rising into their operational altitude in LEO by the end of the year. Each satellite uses krypton-powered thrusters to rise into an operational altitude of 550-kilometers. All of the satellites should be in their final orbits by the end of the year. This first shell will provide broadband coverage to around 80% of our planet’s surface. Overall, the constellation will have 12,000 satellites. The company is currently focused on completing Phase 1 of the Starlink constellation plan, which consists of is deploying a total of 4,408 internet-beaming satellites to orbit to enable reliable internet access globallyAuthor's note: Thanks for supporting TESMANIAN! Twitter: Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo


Featured Image Source: SpaceX Live Broadcast

About the Author

Evelyn Arevalo

Evelyn Arevalo

Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.

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