SpaceX confirms the successful deployment of 58 Starlink satellites on Saturday. If we add the historical manned flight that the company carried out on May 30 into this series, 4 Falcon 9 rockets will be launched in 4 weeks.
Also on Thursday, NASA announced private space company Astrobotic will deliver the agency’s moon rover, VIPER, to the moon by end of 2023. Although SpaceX has had trouble in the past with catching its rocket boosters, recent launches have had a much better track record of landing these stages on the drone ships. SpaceX’s efforts to offer more value to the rideshare business reflects a recognition that other launch providers like Rocket Lab, which tailor specifically to that market segment, are significant potential competition to its overall bottom line. Despite a few issues, including astronomers’ concerns that the satellites could interfere with telescopes on Earth, Starlink proved already its best.
Starlink is the next-generation satellite network capable of providing Earth’s inhabitants with broadband Internet access. Announced past year, the SmallSat project is Musk’s vision of offering an affordable satellite deployment route for small scale satellite operators that serve in different industries.
SpaceX has asked for government permission to send a total of 42,000 satellites into orbit, creating a “mega constellation” around the Earth.
To solve the problem, SpaceX tried several approaches: the first experiment was a satellite called DarkSat launched in January, with some particularly reflective black painted surfaces.
SpaceX launched 58 brand new Starlink satellites on the Falcon nine rocket on Saturday morning hours, and three satellites through Planet labeled along for that ride. Planet’s skysats were deployed in 3 sequential maneuvers which begun 12 minutes after liftoff, while Starlink satellites deployed 14 minutes after that, or 26 minutes after liftoff.
In September past year, however, the European Space Agency had to move one of its satellites out of the way of a Starlink satellite.