Washington-SpaceX launched a batch of 60 Starlink broadband satellites on June 3, including one with a drop-down sun visor to test a new way to reduce the brightness of future satellites. The
Falcon 9 rocket took off at 9:25 pm. Launched eastward from Cape Canaveral Air Force Base, Florida, and deployed the satellite to low-Earth orbit after 15 minutes. The first stage of the
rocket landed on the SpaceX unmanned spacecraft “just read the instructions” about 9 minutes after lift-off. This launch marks the fifth use of the thruster. The thruster has previously performed one mission to the geostationary transfer orbit and three missions to the low-Earth orbit. The last time was in January and was also used in Starlink. This launch is also the first time that SpaceX has successfully retrieved the first-level booster after five flights.
SpaceX has launched 482 Starlink satellites, including the launch on Wednesday and the two prototypes launched in 2018. The company originally planned to conduct the last Starlink mission in May, but Tropical Storm Arthur delayed it until after the company’s then Demo2 Crew Dragon mission. The International Space Station, which took place on May 30th.
May is the first month that SpaceX did not launch Starlink this year. The company released Starlink on average once a month before the delay. SpaceX’s original goal was to launch Starlink twice a month in 2020.
SpaceX is building and launching a constellation of up to 12,000 and possibly 42,000 satellites operating in low Earth orbit to support global satellite Internet services. The company is expected to begin serving parts of Canada and the United States later this year. SpaceX vice president of government satellite relations Patricia Cooper (Patricia Cooper) stated in a webinar last week that SpaceX plans to add to all future Starlink satellites after launching about 500 with its current design. Drop-down sun visor.
“We will have about 500 satellites at their current brightness, and then all the satellites will be equipped with these canopies,” Cooper said at a webinar organized by the American Astronomical Society and the Satellite Industry Association. “This is the proportion we want to study.”
SpaceX seeks to reduce the brightness of the Starlink satellites to reduce their impact on astronomy.