SpaceX has launched a new stack of 60 Starlink Broadband Internet Satellites into the orbit. The SpaceX launch took off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 7:29 AM EDT (4:29 AM PDT) this morning (Oct 6), after being delayed three times due to bad weather. There have been 13 Starlink missions as of today, carrying over 775 satellites into space. The SpaceX launch mission included reuse of the two-stage Falcon 9 rocket, and approximately 9 minutes after launch, the booster’s first stage came back to Earth, landing on one of SpaceX’s drone ships in the Atlantic Ocean.
The launch marks SpaceX’s 17th mission so far in 2020, and its 94th Falcon 9 flight to date. The company’s fleet of flight-proven boosters has been busy this year, with the California-based rocket builder reaching a few new milestones, including launching and landing the same first-stage booster six times.
SpaceX’s Starlink megaconstellation is designed to provide global broadband coverage for high-speed internet access, particularly for people in rural and remote areas. Each of the flat-panel Starlink satellites weighs roughly a quarter-ton and are built in-house at a SpaceX facility in Redmond, Washington. (The company also manufactures its own own user terminals and ground stations.)
SpaceX is currently in private beta testing of Starlink, optimizing for latency and connection. The company says that it has achieved downlink speeds of up to 100 megabits per second, with very low latency. It intends to broaden the beta to the public beginning later this year.
The deployment of these Starlink satellites also went as planned, around an hour following the rocket lift-off.