After the idle attempts last week, due to adverse weather conditions, the first 60 satellites Starlink of SpaceX were successfully carried into orbit by Falcon 9. The launch took place from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, taking just over an hour in total. Thus begins the initiative of Elon Musk, which aims to offer a broadband connectivity service throughout the planet.
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SpaceX’s Starlink satellites
The goal is to deal a significant blow to the scourge of the digital divide that still affects a considerable number of territories. The units, each of which weighs 227 kg, are equipped with a panel through which to absorb the sun’s rays and generate the energy required for operation. It is only the first step of the project, which will continue to bring thousands of satellites into orbit, around 12,000 within the next year, thus creating a network capable of covering the entire earth’s surface in a capillary manner.
Starlink satellites are equipped with one solar array instead of two, minimizing potential points of failure pic.twitter.com/bJirVr67fF
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) May 24, 2019
The satellites were transported by Falcon 9 (then correctly landed for the third time) at an altitude of 440 Km in just over an hour from launch, to then use the on-board propulsion system and travel the missing distance, up to to reach about 550 km from the ground , where they will remain in orbit and become operational.
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On May 23, at 10:30 pm EDT, SpaceX launched 60 Starlink satellites from Space Launch Complex 40 of the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Starlink is the new generation of satellite network capable of connecting the planet, in particular reaching those who are not yet connected, with reliable and accessible broadband Internet services.
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SpaceX is certainly not the first reality that thinks about how to provide connectivity from the sky. He tried Facebook with his Aquila project drones, abandoning the idea and then putting it back on track recently in collaboration with Airbus. The same applies to Google-Alphabet, which uses a different approach with the Loon initiative, using aerostatic balloons moving in the stratosphere.