SpaceX Successfully Launches Next Batch of Satellites Into Orbit
SpaceX, the rocketship company owned by Elon Musk, launched 60 more Starlink satellites into orbit earlier Wednesday (29 January), marking the second time this month it has sent satellites into space.
SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket took off at 9:06 a.m. EST from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Flordia.
Successful deployment of 60 Starlink satellites confirmed! pic.twitter.com/AHkQYB3uNV— SpaceX (@SpaceX) January 29, 2020
The launch had been delayed twice in recent days because of strong winds and rough oceans.
SpaceX bringing the Internet to the world
Today's launch is part of SpaceX's efforts to blanket the world with high-speed Internet. The company now has 240 satellites in its constellation.
In order to provide minimal coverage it needs about 400 satellites and for moderate Internet coverage, 800 satellites, reported Space.com. The report noted SpaceX could begin offering minimal coverage as soon as this year with areas of the U.S. and Canada the first to receive it. The idea is to provide Internet coverage to far-flung corners of the world where it's impossible to bring Internet.
According to TechCrunch, SpaceX COO and President Gwynne Shotwell said the company wants to launch a least six more batches of satellites into orbit by the end of 2020. It had estimated it would take a total of 24 launches to provide internet service globally. The company is now the largest private satellite company in the world.
Satellites do have a byproduct
SpaceX was able to recover the Falcon 9 booster, continuing its success in that department. After separating from the payload, the rocket landed back on its ship floating in the Atlantic Ocean. SpaceX has been successful in recovering the rocket's boosters in previous launches as well.
A byproduct of SpaceX's satellite launches is concerns the artificial stars they create will interfere with astronomers' data calculations and pollute the night sky. To counter that SpaceX and the American Astronomical Society have come up with what they hope is a solution: a non-reflective coating on the bottom of the satellites.