On August 7, the American space company SpaceX launched the Falcon 9 launch vehicle, which injected into orbit 57 satellites of the Starlink global Internet access system being developed by SpaceX, as well as two more Earth remote sensing devices. The mission was broadcast on YouTube channel companies. This launch is the tenth in the Starlink project. The mission was originally scheduled for June 26, but was postponed several times.
The launch vehicle with satellites was launched from the LC-39A pad located at the John F Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 0812 hours Moscow time. The first stage compartment (the reusable upper stage was used for the fifth time) passed normally, and after a little over eight minutes the stage landed on a floating platform in the Atlantic Ocean. Thus, SpaceX already has two stages of the Falcon 9, which have completed five takeoffs and landings.
SpaceX usually launches 60 Starlinks each, but this time, SpaceX’s three satellites have been replaced by two Spaceflight Industries’ BlackSky satellites, designed to survey the earth’s surface. They were launched into orbit a little over an hour after the launch of the rocket. After another half hour, all Starlink satellites were simultaneously launched into a given circular orbit. Later, the satellites must independently ascend into an orbit at an altitude of 550 kilometers. It is also worth noting that all 57 devices received special folding visors to darken the brightest surfaces of the satellites – this measure should reduce the visibility of Starlink satellites, which complained astronomers. As part of the experiment, one satellite from the eighth batch of Starlink devices was equipped with a similar visor, and earlier the company experimented with other methods of reducing the visibility of the Starlink device.
Both BlackSky satellites have been deployed— SpaceX (@SpaceX) August 7, 2020
We will remind, earlier SpaceX received permission from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to put into orbit almost 12 thousand satellites of the Starlink system. It is assumed that the satellites will be in low orbits and will be able to provide Internet access to the entire planet. In 2018, SpaceX launched two Starlink test satellites into orbit, and the first batch of 60 satellites of the first version launched in May 2019 (later communication with three devices was lost).
The company noted that for a minimum coverage of the Earth’s surface with a signal from the Starlink system, 420 satellites will need to be launched, and for an average coverage of SpaceX, a total of 780 vehicles need to be launched into orbit. Launch of the second batch of 60 advanced Starlink satellites took place last November, the third batch of devices was withdrawn at the beginning of January, fourth – in the end of the month, fifth – in mid-February, the sixth – in march, the seventh – in end of April, the eighth – in early June, and the ninth batch of 58 satellites is in middle of the month… Thus, in total, the company has already launched 595 Starlink satellites (of which five were de-orbited). By the end of this year, SpaceX expects to launch the system for Canada and the northern regions of the United States.
At the end of October last year, the head of SpaceX Elon Musk published microblog entry uploaded via Starlink satellites. “Sending this tweet through space using the Starlink satellite,” Musk wrote. “Wow, it worked!” – he then replied to the first entry.
Other companies are also developing similar satellite Internet systems. So, a similar system was developed by the filing bankruptcy petition OneWeb, which managed to launch 74 satellites of the system into orbit (it is possible that the project will continue after the financial issues are resolved thanks to new owners). In addition, in April 2019, the intention to create a system called Kuiper announced Amazon. Recently Amazon got permission FCC to launch 3.2 thousand Kuiper satellites.