SpaceX has successfully launched another batch of 60 Starlink satellites, This kind of orbital communication spacecraft has produced three batches before, and the second batch has been launched this year alone. The launch took off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Base in Florida at 9:06 this morning, using the famous Falcon 9 rocket, which had already performed two missions before.
SpaceX successfully recovered the Falcon 9 booster again, and the rocket separated it from the payload and the second stage, and then landed it back on the Atlantic based UAV landing ship. SpaceX's Falcon 9 booster is also quite reliable – overall, it has successfully completed 48 of 56 landing attempts, and the last failure of Falcon 9 landing attempt was in December 2018.
The Starlink deployment on Falcon 9 will be completed in about 40 minutes, which means SpaceX has launched 240 satellites for Starlink service. After the recent launch of these satellites, SpaceX will become the world's largest private satellite operator, and now it is expanding its leading position.
SpaceX's chief operating officer and president, Gwynne Shotwell, has released a timetable for operations, with the continued launch of satellites putting it on track to launch broadband internet services for customers in the United States and Canada this year. The company aims to launch at least six more satellites by the end of the year, and can start delivering global services after an estimated total of 24 launches.
Astronomers have criticized SpaceX's communications satellite constellation for having a significant impact on night sky observations from Earth, but the company says its measures include dark processing experiments on Earth-facing Starlink satellites. Today, the company says it is still evaluating the results of a test satellite with the coating on the last launch and will provide updates after the results.
Once there is enough satellite coverage, Starlink will provide high-speed Internet (capable of smooth video calls and streaming media playback) for areas that previously could not use such services, including remote areas as well as cruise ships and aircraft.
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