For the third time in five days, SpaceX launches a mission sending Starlink satellites into space. This time, the company’s rocket transported 53 satellites into the orbit from the Kennedy Space Center. The event took place at 6:59 a.m. EDT, with a slight delay than initially predicted. As usual, the event was streamed live on the SpaceX’s Youtube channel.
The other two launches took place on the 13th and 14th of May, both missions carrying 53 Starlink satellites each. All three missions were successful, with the launches and the return of the booster going as planned. Today, the Falcon 9 rocket completed its 121 landing on the SpaceX drone ship, positioned in the Atlantic Ocean. The drone ship is the third in SpaceX’s fleet, being named “A Shortfall of Gravitas”.
But what is Starlink and how does it work?
In short, Starlink is a network of satellites that enable internet connection all over the world, no matter the location. Its greatest advantage is that it can provide high-speed internet even in places where it isn’t available. The company’s official website states that “using advanced satellites in a low orbit, Starlink enables video calls, online gaming, streaming, and other high data rate activities that historically have not been possible with satellite internet. Users can expect to see download speeds between 100 Mb/s and 200 Mb/s and latency as low as 20ms in most locations”.
With these launches, an important achievement of SpaceX is the possibility of using the same rocket booster for more than one mission, which translates into significant cost reductions for the company. This is actually at the forefront of SpaceX’s priorities as a company, which, according to space.com, sees “views rapid and repeated reflight as the key breakthrough needed to make ambitious exploration feats such as Mars settlement economically feasible”.