SpaceX's first 60 operational Starlink satellites deploy in orbit

Each Starlink satellite weighs approximately 500 lbs.

SpaceX designed Starlink to connect end-users with low latency, high bandwidth broadband services by providing continual coverage around the world using a network of thousands of satellites in low Earth orbit. Like other astronomers, the astrophysicist is anxious about the effects of the Starlink project. The 60 mini satellites went into space aboard Falcon 9 rocket, ending a almost three-month launch hiatus for the company. Of those 60, 57 satellites are still in orbit while three became non-operational after launch.

The spacecraft successfully deployed from Falcon 9 nearly an hour after leaving the ground at an elevation of 174 miles above Earth.

SpaceX has also made a request to the International Telecommunications Union-a United Nations body that regulates satellite signals-regarding the ability to communicate with a further 30,000 Starlink satellites in addition to the aforementioned 12,000, which have already been approved by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, Space News reported.

SpaceX plans to continue launching Starlink satellites in batches and aims to provide service to parts of the northern US and Canada next year, according to Starlink's website. This batch followed another set of 60 launched in May, with Musk previously stating that around 800 would be needed for "continuous coverage of the most populated areas on Earth".

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The American company s Starlink network could one day total 42,000 satellites - resulting in far more crowded skies and raising concerns among some scientists.

SpaceX has updated the Starlink design since the Starlink launch in May. The same article indicated that SpaceX and its head, Elon Musk, reassured the astronomers that once the satellites get settled in place, "they would stop masquerading as the stars they are named for".

"The Starlink satellites will deploy at an altitude of 280 km [174 miles]". SpaceX CEO and founder Elon Musk has said the organization will require at least 400 Starlink satellites in orbit to offer "minor" broadband coverage, with up to 800 required for "moderate" coverage. The fairing encases the payload and is used to shield it from the aerodynamic forces during the initial ascent phase.

"Additionally, components of each satellite are 100% demisable and will quickly burn up in Earth's atmosphere at the end of their life cycle-a measure that exceeds all current safety standards", SpaceX wrote. The space rocket company blasted off 60 mini-satellites aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida, US. The first batch, which comprised of 60 satellites, was launched in May. SpaceX is studying the satellite no doubt.

The launch begins at 9:56 a.m. EST, 14:56 UTC, with the live stream starting about 15 minutes before liftoff.

  • Delia Davidson