First 60 satellites in massive Starlink Internet Constellation Launched
SpaceX successfully deployed all 60 Starlink satellites into orbit through Falcon 9 rocket. The Falcon 9 rocket was landed back successfully for the third time i.e. going to space and back.
Starlink is SpaceX s ambitious internet-from-space initiative. The 60 satellites launched were part of the initial probe and do not have all of the capabilities that the finalized satellites are supposed to have. Their launch has set the ball rolling on Starlink and will help SpaceX learn what it takes to operate a large crop of vehicles in space.
SpaceX envisions to provide global internet coverage from space, with very short lag times in signal. It involves putting up two groups of satellites into orbit:
- One batch of 4,409 satellites that will operate between 340 miles (550 kilometres) and 823 miles (1,325 kilometres) up.
- Second batch of 7,518 satellites that would fly slightly lower, between 208 miles (335 kilometres) and 214 miles (346 kilometres) in altitude.
Thus it involves a total of 11,927 satellites all zooming over the Earth to provide internet connectivity to up to a million user terminals on the surface.
How this is different?
At present satellites that provide internet coverage from space are in higher orbits known as geostationary orbit (a path about 22,000 miles above the equator).
The problem with these satellites is that it takes a long time to get their data, as signals have to travel thousands of miles through space and back. Hence SpaceX and other aerospace companies are proposing constellations in much lower orbits, to cut down on this latency issue.