SpaceX Launch First 60 Starlink Satellites Aboard Flight-Proven Falcon 9

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"If all goes well, each launch of 60 satellites will generate more power than Space Station & deliver 1 terabit of bandwidth to Earth", Musk wrote on Twitter.

The launch took place just shortly after 10:30 p.m. local time, with the Falcon 9's first stage booster landing approximately nine minutes after takeoff on the Of Course I Still Love You droneship, located in the Atlantic Ocean.

The fifth Falcon 9 rocket of the year took flight on Thursday evening, May 23, sending 60 internet-beaming satellites into space, as Space.com reported. Starlink won't be able to provide any internet access until at least 400 of these satellites are in orbit. It was the highest number of satellites the company has deployed at once.

Musk has said that about 800 satellites will be needed to provide moderate internet coverage.

Each Starlink satellite weighs 227 kilograms, bringing the total payload weight to 13.6 metric tons, making it the heaviest SpaceX mission to date.

- What's next: "The Federal Communications Commission has already granted SpaceX permission to launch the entirety of its almost 12,000-satellite constellation".

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It had been originally scheduled to launch last week, but was postponed because of high winds over the Cape and the need for a software update. Thursday's launch puts SpaceX ahead of a handful of competitors including OneWeb and Blue Origin, which was founded by Amazon's Jeff Bezos.

The billionaire entrepreneur pointed out that the technology involved in the satellite megaconstellation plan is new, so there is a possibility that some of them might not work.

The satellites are created to use their onboard krypton ion drives to raise their orbits to the prescribed 550-kilometer (342-mile) altitude. Now for the moment of truth: The company will try to deploy the entire batch of satellites safely into orbit.

This mission, if fully successful, will mark the largest step forward for any company attempting such a project.

While this is the first non-test launch, the satellites aren't as feature-rich as the final production version the company intends to ship.

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