At 9:19 pm ET, Space X continued its push into the "final frontier" with its first launch of the year as it sent 60 Starlink satellites into space aboard a reusable Falcon 9 rocket.
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The launch from Cape Canaveral is the third Starlink mission undertaken by SpaceX. Three to five more launches will have to take place to get the Starlink system on line based on a timetable discussed in 2019.
According to a SpaceX / Starlink press release, once all satellite positioned in space, “SpaceX engineers will conduct data reviews to ensure all Starlink satellites are operating as intended. Once the checkouts are complete, the satellites will then use their onboard ion thrusters to move into their intended orbits.”
Some 400 Starlinks will get the broadband service up and running, though SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, got “service” started on a small scale in October when he tweeted via the first batch of satellites
But Musk’s pet project will need more devices orbiting to see this plan become a full-fledged internet provider. SpaceX has said 1,584 satellites will be needed for the Starlink system.
While Musk is involved in a space race with the likes of Jeff Bezos to get manned missions to the moon and eventually to Mars, the final frontier’s fight to offer high-speed internet is closer to reality. OneWeb, TeleSat, and Amazon are in various stages of building satellite constellations.
OneWeb launched six satellites in July, prompting CEO Adrian Steckel to state “Our tests prove that OneWeb will enable very high speed and low latency connectivity everywhere and we are on schedule to offer the service globally in 24 months.”