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SpaceX Builds Out Megaconstellation With Second Launch Of 60 Starlink Communications Satellites

The SpaceX Falcon 9 satellite launch vehicle carrying payloads for Iridium, Argentina, and Indonesia, as well as 60 Starlink satellites, lifts off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on 11 November 2019. Photograph courtesy of Craig Bailey/Florida Today via Associated Press.

On Monday, 11 November 2019 at 9:56 a.m. EST, 14:56 UTC, SpaceX launched 60 Starlink satellites from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

Falcon 9’s first stage launched the Iridium-7 communications satellite; the SAOCOM-1A Earth observation satellite for Argentina; and the Nusantara Satu communications satellite for Indonesia, and the fairing was previously flown on Falcon Heavy’s Arabsat-6A mission earlier this year.

Following stage separation, SpaceX landed Falcon 9’s first stage on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship, which was stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. Approximately 45 minutes after liftoff, SpaceX’s two fairing recovery vessels, “Ms. Tree” and “Ms. Chief,” recovered the two fairing halves.

The 60 Starlink satellites deployed at an altitude of 280 km. Prior to orbit raise, SpaceX engineers will conduct data reviews to ensure all Starlink satellites are operating as intended. Once the checkouts are complete, the satellites will then use their onboard ion thrusters to move into their intended orbits.

SpaceX is developing Starlink as a low latency, broadband internet system to meet the needs of consumers across the globe. Enabled by a constellation of low Earth orbit satellites, Starlink will provide fast, reliable internet to populations with little or no connectivity, including those in rural communities and places where existing services are too expensive or unreliable.

Since the most recent launch of Starlink satellites in May 2019, SpaceX has increased spectrum capacity for the end-user through upgrades in design that maximize the use of both Ka- and Ku-bands. Additionally, components of each satellite are 100% demisable and will quickly burn up in Earth’s atmosphere at the end of their life cycle—a measure that exceeds all current safety standards.

Starlink is targeted to offer service in parts of the U.S. and Canada after six launches, rapidly expanding to global coverage of the populated world after 24 launches.

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