SpaceX Launches New Batch of Satellites for Starlink Mission

by Michael Freeman

SpaceX has been quite busy as of late with its launches into space. This morning was no different, as they launched the next batch of satellites for their Starlink mission.

Spaceflight Insider provided details of the launch, stating SpaceX launched 53 Starlink satellites this morning. At 7:19 a.m. EST, a Falcon 9 rocket took off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Dubbed Group-41, it carried the satellites into low Earth orbit. The official Twitter even provided footage about the launch as it occurred.

Interestingly, this was the second launch attempt. Originally slated for launch yesterday, sub-par weather postponed the attempt. Though there was also fog this morning around the launch pad, it wasn’t enough to dissuade the liftoff from occurring.

The Falcon 9’s first stage utilized core B1058, its 9th use after a turnaround of roughly a year. Around the two-and-a-half-minute mark, the rocket separated from the second stage, with the first stage landing near SpaceX’s drone ship. The second stage continued its journey with the 53 Starlink satellites and released them about 16 minutes after the initial liftoff.

Group-41 serves as Starlink’s 31st mission. With this mission’s success, that brings the number of internet satellites launched to date up to 1,844.

A popular discussion topic lately, SpaceX is investing heavily into their Starlink initiative. That being said, what exactly is the Starlink mission and what does it want to accomplish?

Starlink aims to bring high-speed, low-latency broadband internet across the globe. Primarily targeting areas with troubles receiving fast internet, or internet in general, SpaceX wants everyone to have equal access to the service. Back in September, SpaceX president and CEO Gwynne Shotwell spoke about the endeavor at a news conference.

“There are millions and billions of people that do not have access to decent internet,” Shotwell said. “So that’s a pretty big market. I am not worried about the number of organizations that are interested in doing this. I’m interested and concerned about their sustainability when it comes to the space environment.”

So, how does SpaceX hope to accomplish this? By launching advanced satellites into low orbit, Starlink lets users play games online, stream, have video calls, and enable other high-data activities. Overall, people can expect download speeds between 100 Mb/s and 200 Mb/s. Additionally, latency may be as low as 20ms in most locations.

Those interested can visit the official website and learn more about it. To set up Starlink, the organization provides a Starlink Kit, complete with the wifi router, cables, and base. Still currently in beta, SpaceX hopes to improve its stability and connectivity in the coming months.