Elon musk’s spaceX launches 58 Starlink satellites and 3 Planet Skysats
SpaceX has launched its Starlink satellites, growing the constellation by another 58 spacecraft just 10 days after its most recent Starlink satellite launch. That brings the total number of operational Starlink broadband internet satellites on orbit to 538. SpaceX also split the payload for this Starlink satellite mission for the first time, giving up two of its usual Starlink satellite payload complement in order to also carry three Planet Skysat spacecraft on behalf of that client.
The goal of Starlink Satallite’s Launch–
SpaceX’s latest Starlink launch was significant not only because it brings the company closer to its goal of actually operating a consumer-facing/friendly broadband internet service, which it hopes to begin doing for a limited type of customers in the U.S. and Canada by later this year, but also because these Starlink satellites carried new great modifications designed to make them more astronomer-friendly.
- Starlink, because of its massive size and the relatively low-altitude orbit that they traverse, has been criticized by nighttime scientific observers or scientist because they present a potentially bright distraction as they pass overhead, they got distracted. SpaceX launched one Starlink satellite equipped with a new deployable powerful sun visor it created that can block reflections of sunlight off of their antenna surfaces, and on this launch, each of the 58 satellites was outfitted with this new mitigating technology.
- Hopefully, that means that Starlink satalites can now exist more harmoniously with scientists who rely on Earth-based observation of the stars and night sky, but the ultimately proof will be in what difference these solar visors make when deployed in huge volume among the Starlink constellation.
About the Mission–
This mission was also the first conducted from Elon Musk under SpaceX’s formalized SmallSat Rideshare Program, which offers small satellite operators a chance to book a ride aboard an upcoming SpaceX launch in a relatively flexible, ‘on-demand’ manner using a web portal SpaceX created for the purpose. SpaceX’s efforts to offer extra value to the rideshare business to the costomer’s that reflects a recognition that other launch providers like Rocket Lab, which tailor specifically to that market segment, are significant potential competition to its overall bottom line.
- A recovery landing of the Falcon 9 first stage booster used to propel the payload to space. This booster also previously flew on two of SpaceX’s Dragon cargo resupply and help missions to the International Space Station.
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