Watch SpaceX Launch 60 New Starlink Satellites into Space

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The Next Phase of the SpaceX’s Revolutionary Internet Service Program is in Orbit after They Successfully Launched 60 Starlink Satellites Yesterday.

SpaceX wants to put a lot of satellites into orbit. Of course, they’ve been successfully doing it for a few years now. But most of those missions featured payloads for other commercial communications companies and others. Nowadays, Elon Musk’s beloved space tech giant is more focused on getting their own Starlink Satellites into orbit.

In fact, yesterday’s launch was historic for several reasons. SpaceX used the main booster of a Falcon 9 rocket for the fourth time and used twin recovery vessels to successfully recover the cargo fairing sections of the rocket system—both are “firsts” for SpaceX. And those firsts put SpaceX one step closer to “the Holy Grail”—a fully reusable rocket system.

Watch the SpaceX Launch and Recovery:

The Falcon 9 lifted off at just before 10 am EST yesterday morning. As mentioned above, this particular Falcon 9 main stage just landed for the fourth time. Currently, Falcon 9s are designed to be used up to ten times without a full refurbishment. All of the other Falcon 9 rockets in SpaceX’s fleets have flown three times. But this is the first time one has done a fourth mission. SpaceX leaders are already excited to reach the five-flight milestone. 

The reason reusability is so important to commercial space-flight, and human space exploration in general, is cost. Musk promises rocket rides in the near future for pennies on the dollar of what we’re currently paying. For that matter, the costs he’s talking about are also pennies on the dollar for missions we’re planning on paying for as well. Just last week, Musk publically estimated an operational cost of only around $2 million per Starship launch. Currently, we pay Russia over $82 million for a ride on a Soyuz rocket to the ISS. And Congress doggedly insists we keep pursuing the SLS rocket system, despite the estimated $2 billion per launch (yes, that’s 100 times more expensive than Starship) price tag. Even now, if Crew Dragon were operational, we’d save nearly 20% on each trip to the ISS.

Both Boeing and SpaceX claim that their crew capsules will be ready to fly next year. And with these new milestones in re-usability yesterday, our days of paying Rosmocos to get into space may soon be over.

Plans for Starlink Satellites:

Yesterday’s mission represents the next phase of SpaceX’s Starlink constellation. The constellation will allow the next generation of ultra-fast, reliable internet service infrastructure. This launch contained 60 Starlink Satellites, but the eventual number of satellites in the constellation is a bit hard to pin down. Musk has said it could be economically viable with only 1000-2000 satellites. Yet, early estimates said the final number would be around 12,000 satellites. Then a few weeks ago, SpaceX got permission from the ITU for up to 42,000 satellites. Regardless of the final number, however, SpaceX already has Starlink satellites in orbit, and many future missions planned to send more.

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Brandon Humphreys

Brandon Humphreys

I'm a wizard. I write stuff and it goes from my head into yours - Magic! Apart from that, I am the Senior Editor for Space Porn, a veteran, a rock guitarist, and a teacher.

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