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SpaceX Launches 60 New Starlink Satellites, Making It Largest Operator Of Satellites Worldwide

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SpaceX Launches 60 New Starlink Satellites, Making It Largest Operator Of Satellites Worldwide

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On June 3rd, SpaceX successfully launched a batch of 60 Starlink internet satellites into orbit.

The Falcon-9 rocket which was used as the launch vehicle successfully landed and was recovered and it was the same one that had been used 4 times in the past.

 

The rocket featured in the flight is the second Falcon 9 first stage to fly five times. The booster previously launched two other Starlink missions as well as a batch of Iridium NEXT satellites and a Canadian communications satellite.

The flight is the eighth 60-satellite mission for SpaceX’s Starlink project, bringing the total number of satellites launched for the nascent broadband network up to 482.

Currently, SpaceX, a commercial entity, has the largest satellite fleet of all time. Ever since its first launch, the company has come under fire from astronomers and scientists around the world over concerns that the constellation’s apparent brightness will disrupt astronomical observations.

SpaceX has plans to build a constellation of Starlink satellites 12,000 strong. The project is designed to provide high-speed internet service to customers around the world, in particular those in remote areas.

SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk has said that at least 400 Starlink craft are needed before SpaceX can begin to roll out minimal internet coverage, and the company requires at least 800 satellites to provide moderate coverage.

This could potentially start later this year.

Currently, around the globe there are approximately 5,000 satellites, in total, SpaceX plans to introduce more than twice more. As of 2018, out of those nearly 5,000, only 40%, or about 2,000 are actually operational. As such, SpaceX currently represents nearly 500, or 25% of all active satellites, and plans to increase the number of active satellites 6 times.

In February 2020, the US Air Force and SpaceX announced that they would collaborate for a live fire exercise on April 8th.

Air Force acquisition chief William Roper told reporters at the Pentagon that the Air Force and SpaceX will conduct an event on April 8, together with other branches of the U.S. military, that will see SpaceX Starlink satellites link up with multiple armed forces systems in a “massive” live fire exercise.

The demonstration will reportedly involve shooting down a drone and a cruise missile and will take place at several different sites including Marine Corps Air Station Yuma in Arizona to Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. The massive tests will also include ground forces, submarines, ships, and a variety of space-based assets.

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