Featured Image Source: SpaceX
This morning (February 17), SpaceX deployed another batch of 60 operational Starlink satellites into orbit aboard a pre-flown Falcon 9 rocket. It was the fifth Starlink mission, dedicated to build the satellite constellation that will beam affordable, low latency, high-speed broadband internet across the globe. Offering Starlink internet services would provide SpaceX with more funding to fund their space program which includes building a base on the moon and the first human settlement on Mars. The rocket company's ultimate mission is to transform us into a spacefaring civilization that would have the capability to perform hundreds of spaceflights to and from the Red Planet.
The Starlink broadband internet satellite network will be initially comprised of initially 1,584 satellites, all operating in low Earth orbit. SpaceX has approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to operate as many as 12,000 satellites. This year, deployments are scheduled for approximately twice a month, each Falcon 9 rocket launch deploys a batch of 60 satellites.
Liftoff! pic.twitter.com/vTMGhpgVIQ— SpaceX (@SpaceX) February 17, 2020
Successful deployment of 60 Starlink satellites confirmed! pic.twitter.com/bKBtI5UZEB— SpaceX (@SpaceX) February 17, 2020
Usually, SpaceX recovers the Falcon 9 rocket booster (first-stage) in order to reuse it again but they missed to land it on an autonomous drone ship landing platform Of Course I Still Love You in the Atlantic Ocean. "We clearly did not make the landing this time," SpaceX Starlink engineer Lauren Lyons said during the live broadcast. The rocket did make a "soft landing" at sea besides the drone ship. Jessie Anderson, a SpaceX manufacturing engineer, said during live commentary:
"The first stage made its way back to Earth. Unfortunately, we did not land the first stage on our drone ship, But it did make a soft landing on the water, right next to the drone ship, so it does look like it might be in one piece."
WATCH THE STARLINK MISSION!