SpaceX’s Starlink initiative aims to provide everyone with fast, affordable internet, no matter your location. Yesterday, the organization hit a huge milestone after its latest successful satellite launch.
Elon Musk’s firm launched 49 of its Starlink satellites on a Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center yesterday. This marks its 2,000th Starlink satellite launch into space, Daily Mail reports. Confirming the launch on their own Twitter account, SpaceX celebrated the momentous occasion.
This makes a grand total of 2,042 Starlink satellites launched since the first handful in February 2018. However, it should be noted many have either failed or have been decommissioned in space. Elon Musk recently provided specifics regarding active satellites. “1469 Starlink satellites active 272 moving to operational orbits Laser links activate soon,” he tweeted. Each satellite is about as big as a table, with Falcon 9 rockets typically launching around 50 satellites in tow.
Starlink is a satellite constellation aiming to bring internet to virtually everywhere on Earth, especially rural areas. The service is currently in beta, with its internet being available in 23 different countries, including the UK. Though we currently stand at a little over 2,000 launched, the next generation of the service may reach a staggering 42,000 satellites in low-Earth orbit.
SpaceX isn’t wasting any time either, stating their next Starlink launch aboard Falcon 9 is slated for January 29. 2021 saw 18 Starlink launches, totaling 1,000 satellites deployed into space. Launches take place every few weeks, but it’s going to take some time to hit that 42,000 total mentioned earlier.
SpaceX Satellite Dishes Have a Surprising Problem Involving Cats
SpaceX satellites may launch like clockwork, but it appears there is a surprising problem ground side with the service. The satellite dishes users install for the service seem to be a camping ground for cats and other animals.
When you think of possible Starlink problems, cats probably weren’t what immediately came to mind, but here we are. Beta testers must install a Starlink satellite dish to receive their internet, which is straightforward enough. The problem comes from the “Snow Melt Mode” the dishes come equipped with. In case the dishes become buried in snow, this mode heats the dish up to melt it and still obtain a signal. The dish also turns to face the sun, turning it into an ideal animal perch.
Considering the cold weather we’ve received lately, the warm, cozy dishes have attracted cats, Tesmanian reports. “Starlink works great until the cats find out that the dish gives off a little heat on cold days,” a beta tester tweeted. Luckily, when the dish is transmitting, it moves in a way animals can’t take refuge there, but they’re still at risk if a big animal decides to rest in the dish.
If Starlink was going to have an issue, at least it’s an adorable one.