SpaceX pushes number of Starlink satellites in space to 700

SpaceX initially planned for the next batch of Starlink satellites to be boosted into space atop a Falcon 9 rocket on Monday 5 October 2020. However, the launch was postponed due to the weather.

“We are standing down from today’s Starlink mission due to weather violations on the Range.”

The launch of Starlink’s 13th batch of 60 broadband internet satellites was postponed to Tuesday, 6 October. We’ve collected all the launch videos in one place. Enjoy!

spacex starlink falcon 9
Image via SpaceX

SpaceX confirmed that the “team is setting up for a launch opportunity [for Tuesday] at 7:29 [Eastern Time; or 13:29 South African Standard Time]. Weather forecast is 70% favourable for liftoff.”

The Falcon 9 used for this mission previously supported the launch of Crew Dragon’s first flight to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts on board, as well as the ANASIS-II mission.

Following a successful stage separation, SpaceX confirmed that the Falcon 9’s first stage successfully returned to Earth and landed on the Of Course I Still Love You drone ship off the Atlantic coast.

starlink spacex falcon 9
Image via spacex.com

“One of Falcon 9’s fairing halves supported two previous Starlink launches. The Starlink satellites deployed approximately 1 hour and 1 minute after liftoff”.

SpaceX mission briefing

Mission progress

The SpaceX team added that the Starlink network is still in its early stages, but “as our network grows, our coverage will grow as well”. And grow it will. There are currently more than 700 Starlink satellites in space.

Future batches of Starlink satellites will launch on SpaceX’s Starship, a rocket which is currently still under development. It will be capable of launching 400 Starlink satellites at a time, and will one day take humans to Mars.

SpaceX also confirmed that today’s mission marked “SpaceX’s 43rd flight of a previously-flown rocket booster”, the Falcon 9.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk recently said on social media that public testing for the programme’s broadband internet coverage will begin “very soon for higher latitudes like Seattle” in the United States. Musk added:

“Starlink will be a revolution in connectivity; especially for remote regions or for emergency services when landlines are damaged”.

He also explained that the programme would only roll out to the public “several years in the future when revenue growth is smooth and predictable “. That’s because the “public market does not like erratic cash flow”.

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