Successful SpaceX Launch Brings 52 Satellites Into Orbit

by Samantha Whidden

Elon Musk’s aerospace manufacturer and space transportation service SpaceX announced on Saturday (December 18th) that it successfully brought 52 satellites into orbit.

In a recent update, SpaceX declared that its Falcon 9 launched 52 Starlink satellites to low-Earth orbit from Space Launch Complex 4 East (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. This notably completes the first eleventh launch and landing of an orbital class rocket booster. “The Falcon 9 first stage booster has launched Dragon’s first crew demonstration mission, the RADARSAT Constellation Mission, SXM-7, and now 8 Starlink missions.”

According to SpaceX’s website, Starlink provides high-speed, low-latency broadband internet across the globe. It was revealed that within each coverage area, orders are fulfilled on a fire-come, first-served basis. “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.”

SpaceX explained that users can expect to see download speeds between 100 Mb/s and 200 Mb/s. And latency as low as 20ms in most locations. Meanwhile, the company also noted that Starlink is ideally suited for areas where connectivity has been unreliable or completely unavailable. “People across the globe are using Starlink to gain access to education, health services, and even communications support during natural disasters.”

SpaceX then claimed that Starlink leads the industry in innovations to reduce satellite brightness, minimize the impact on astronomy. It also protects the natural night sky for all to enjoy. According to ABC News, Saturday’s mission was also the 34th launch for Starlink. A constellation of nearly 2,000 satellites in low Earth orbit.

CBS also reported in October 2021 that SpaceX creator Elon Musk revealed that Starlink is currently in talks to provide faster internet speed on airlines. When asked if he has any plans to make Starlink available on airlines, Musk stated, “Yes. We are talking to airlines about installing Starlink.”

Meanwhile, SpaceX Vice President Jonathan Hofeller echoed Musk’s statement earlier this year. When he told reporters that the company is talking to several airlines about adding Starlink in-flight Wi-Fi. Hofeller also noted that there is an “aviation product in development” at the time. 

“We’ve already done some demonstrations to date,” the SpaceX Vice President explained. “And [are] looking to get that product finalized to be put on aircraft in the very near future.”

Hofeller further emphasized that Starlink provides a global mesh. So that airlines are flying underneath that global mesh has connectivity anywhere they go. Musk adds that Regulatory approval is currently dictating the timeline for Starlink.