Published: Tue, February 18, 2020
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SpaceX set to launch 60 new Starlink internet satellites into space

SpaceX set to launch 60 new Starlink internet satellites into space

The launch will also be a potentially record-setting demonstration of SpaceX's Falcon 9 reusability, with the shortest turnaround time for a Falcon 9 first-stage between its previous mission and its next.

This video still image grab provided by SpaceX shows a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket as it lifts off to launch 60 new Starlink satellites into orbit from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, on Feb.17, 2020.

SpaceX completed its fifth dedicated Starlink launch February 17, successfully sending 60 satellites into low Earth orbit while missing what would have been the company's 50th booster recovery. Today's launch mission will be the fifth overall for Starlink, and the third flight for this particular Falcon 9 rocket.

SpaceX's project to build a satellite network consisting of thousands of cubic satellites to create a worldwide internet network continues at full speed. After just one burn of the rocket's second stage, it went into an elliptical orbit from which the satellites use their own thrusters to climb to their target orbit around Earth, TechCrunch reported. But this time the rocket failed the mark by a pinch.

Musk and SpaceX have not responded to requests for more information.


The company said the booster in Monday's launch was used three times previously, for cargo missions to the International Space Station in May 2019 and July 2019, and for the JCSAT-18/Kacific1 satellite launch in December 2019.

The missed landing could be attributed to a change in orbit for the satellites.

SpaceX said every one of the 60 satellites was delivered at a height of 227 kilometers and will utilize onboard electric propulsion to arrive at their objective 550-kilometer circular orbit.

Founded in 2002, SpaceX aims to revolutionize space technology, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets, according to its website. It has attempted 12 catches so far, and has also recovered fairings by retrieving them intact from the ocean after a water landing, although that process is more hard and costly, so it's really hoping to improve the success rate of the net-based catches.

Musk has not yet responded to the study or the criticisms of astronomers, but in May a year ago, he discussed the possibility of making the Starlink satellites less reflective.

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