SpaceX takes new batch of Starlink satellites into orbit

Space Science
Falcon 9 rocket

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off early Tuesday morning to deliver more Starlink satellites. (SpaceX / YouTube)

MYSTERY WIRE — A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket delivered another batch of Starlink satellites in an early Tuesday morning.

Watch a replay of the launch:

It wasn’t the only SpaceX event of the day. A SpaceX Dragon returned to Earth after delivering supplies to the International Space Station.

The missions continued a string of SpaceX successes on launches without crews. A recent test of Boeing’s Starliner failed to rendezvous with the ISS after a problem with a clock left a capsule short of the orbit necessary to eventually dock.

Both companies have been making headlines as they come nearer to providing private transportation for NASA astronauts, but no crews have been launched to this point. SpaceX and Boeing have made great strides in their programs to reuse rockets and spacecraft.

Today’s SpaceX mission used a rocket that had been used three times before, and the Dragon that returned to Earth was also a reused spacecraft.

SpaceX commentators described how the Starlink satellites are a game-changer for broadband satellite internet service:

Most satellite internet services today are from geostationary satellites — single satellites orbiting nearly 22,000 miles above the Earth. Starlink is a constellation of satellites that orbit at less than 350 miles high, covering the entire globe. This reduces signal latency, and allows Starlink to deliver services like online gaming that just don’t work well with satellites that are so much farther away.

Starlink is testing an experimental system to reduce the reflections from satellites, which has annoyed astronomers and interfered with observations as satellites proliferate.

If you’re interested in trying to spot the satellites while they are still relatively low in orbit, check out Space.com’s article on where and when to look.

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