SpaceX launches 60 mini satellites in quest for global internet coverage

SpaceX launches 60 mini satellites in quest for global internet coverage

SpaceX is targeting Monday, November 11 at 9:56 a.m. EST, 14:56 UTC, for launch of 60 Starlink satellites from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.

WASHINGTON: The private SpaceX company on Monday launched a second set of mini-satellites as it builds a huge constellation of the small orbiting devices aimed at greatly expanding internet access around the globe.

That's not the only record for this launch, and for SpaceX's re-usable rocketry program in general: This flight used a previously flown fairing for the first time ever (for any rocket company) during this mission.

SpaceX called off an attempt to use two vessels to catch the fairing - the nose cone that protects the payload - out of concern about sea conditions.

"Prior to orbit raise, SpaceX engineers will conduct data reviews to ensure all Starlink satellites are operating as intended", SpaceX said before launch.

The booster had flown three times before - so today's mission marked the first time the same rocket booster has been launched and recovered four times.

When the first group of 60 Starlink satellites hit the skies in May, the train of metal birds was easily identified by night sky watchers for a brief period, leading to alarm from astronomers who anxious about the new reflective surfaces interfering with observations of the cosmos.

The Starlink mission aims to provide internet in the northern US and Canada in 2020 and expand to "near global coverage of the populated world by 2021", according to SpaceX's website. The Starlink deployment system releases satellites like a deck of cards.

SpaceX's facilities in Redmond, Wash., are playing a key role in building the Starlink satellites for that constellation.

"These boosters are created to be used 10 times".

SpaceX says its satellite constellation will be operational for Canada and the northern United States by next year.

SpaceX landed the booster on the drone ship Of Course I Still Love You in the Atlantic Ocean.

SpaceX has regulatory approval to launch almost 12,000 Starlink relay stations in dozens of orbital planes.

SpaceX employees in Redmond, Wash., give a cheer during the countdown to the Falcon 9 launch. The rocket's second stage is single-use. This is its fourth use, which is a record for SpaceX . Musk has also tweeted through the satellites.

SpaceX could start offering limited Starlink service as early as next year.

A space-based internet service will be an important source of funding for the closely held company, according to Musk, who founded SpaceX in 2002 with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets.

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