Watch SpaceX Launch 60 Starlink Satellites Into Orbit Tonight

Watch SpaceX Launch 60 Starlink Satellites Into Orbit Tonight

Those challenges aren't coming just from Starlink; other companies plan to loft internet-satellite networks as well.

The rocket was launched from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Weather conditions at Cape Canaveral are looking good, with a less than 10% chance of cancellation and a 20% chance of delay. Following the launch, the first stage fell to earth and landed on the "Of Course I Still Love You" droneship located in the Atlantic Ocean. SpaceX launched its first group of 60 in May 2019 and additional 60 in November, to provide global internet access.

While satellite internet has been around for a while, it has suffered from high latency and unreliable connections.

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There will likely be at least one more batch of 60 Starlink satellites scheduled to launch before the end of January. Even so, astronomers have voiced concerns about the rise of light and radio pollution in the night sky, spoiling their sensitive observations. B1049 was first launched in September 2018 carrying the Telstar 18 VANTAGE communications satellite to a geosynchronous transfer orbit. SpaceX says it shares high-fidelity tracking data with other satellite operators to reduce the risk of collision.

Following a successful launch, the Falcon 9 upper stage is expected to deploy the 60 Starlink satellites into a low Earth orbit at an altitude of 290 kilometers.

The company is targeting Starlink internet service in the northern US and Canada in 2020 and expanding to "near global coverage of the populated world by 2021". SpaceX's Gwynne Shotwell has said that coverage could begin sometime this year, but the company has not yet announced pricing for its new service.

SpaceX's facility in Redmond, Wash., is playing the lead role in building Starlink satellites.

Those issues have been raised with SpaceX, and the company plans to include a single satellite with a less-reflective surface in Monday's launch batch, according to Space.com.

"SpaceX has not yet eased the minds of astronomers concerned about the reflectivity of their Starlink satellites", she told AFP.

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