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SpaceX launches Starlink satellites and expands international service
by Jeff Foust — March 11, 2021


A Falcon 9 launch March 11 brought the total number of Starlink satellites in orbit to 1,200. Credit: SpaceX webcast

WASHINGTON — A SpaceX Falcon 9 launched another set of 60 Starlink satellites March 11 as the company expanded international service in several countries.

The Falcon 9 lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 3:13 a.m. Eastern. The rocket’s upper stage deployed its payload of 60 Starlink satellites 65 minutes after liftoff.

The rocket’s first stage successfully landed on a droneship eight and a half minutes after liftoff. That booster was on its sixth flight, having previously flown missions ranging from the Demo-2 commercial crew test flight in May 2020 to, most recently, the Transporter-1 rideshare mission Jan. 24.

SpaceX now has 1,200 Starlink satellites in orbit, having launched 310 of them this year alone. Five of SpaceX’s seven Falcon 9 missions in 2021 have been dedicated for Starlink, with the other two launching Transporter-1 and the Turksat 5A geostationary communications satellite. The Transporter-1 launch included 10 Starlink satellites, the first deployed in polar orbit.

As SpaceX expands the Starlink satellite constellation, the company is also expanding the coverage for its ongoing beta test of the broadband internet service those satellites provide. The company originally limited the beta test to the northern tier of the continental United States, later expanding it to include southern Canada and parts of the United Kingdom.

During the webcast for this Starlink launch, the company said it is now expanding its service in the U.K., which had been limited to southern England, to the rest of England, Scotland and Wales. SpaceX is also starting service in western Germany and the South Island of New Zealand, with plans to expand in both countries in the coming weeks.

SpaceX has kept expectations low for the beta test, called “Better Than Nothing” by the company, with average speeds of 50 to 150 megabits per second and occasional outages. In online forums, though, some users have reported much higher speeds at times, exceeding 300 megabits per second, but still with intermittent outages.


Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-launches-starlink-satellites-and-expands-international-service/

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Odp: [SN] SpaceX sets new booster reuse mark with Starlink launch
« Odpowiedź #46 dnia: Marzec 14, 2021, 23:05 »
SpaceX sets new booster reuse mark with Starlink launch
by Jeff Foust — March 14, 2021 [SN]


A Falcon 9 first stage after landing March 14, completing a record-setting ninth flight of the same booster. Credit: SpaceX webcast

WASHINGTON — A Falcon 9 launched another set of Starlink satellites March 14, with the rocket’s first stage setting a record with its ninth launch and landing.

The Falcon 9 lifted off from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center at 6:01 a.m. Eastern. The upper stage deployed its payload of 60 Starlink satellites into orbit 65 minutes later, bringing the size of the broadband internet constellation to 1,260 satellites.

The launch was the eighth for the Falcon 9 this year, and took place a little more than 72 hours after another Falcon 9 launch of Starlink satellites. Six of the eight Falcon 9 launches this year have been dedicated to Starlink, and one of the other two, the Transporter-1 dedicated rideshare flight, also carried 10 Starlink satellites.

The rocket’s first stage landed on a droneship in the Atlantic Ocean eight and a half minutes after liftoff. That booster was on its ninth flight, a record for the Falcon 9. The rocket, which first launched a Crew Dragon spacecraft on the uncrewed Demo-1 mission in March 2019, later launched the Radarsat Constellation Mission and the SXM-7 satellite for SiriusXM. It launched five Starlink missions before this one, including the booster’s previous flight Jan. 20.

The booster is now approaching the goal SpaceX set of being able to fly 10 times. However, one company official recently said it may be possible to exceed that goal.

“We’re learning a lot about refurbishment and we’re learning where the areas are where we need to pay attention to,” said Hans Koenigsmann, senior adviser for build and flight reliability at SpaceX, during a panel discussion at the 47th Spaceport Summit last month. Those areas that require special attention include the booster’s heat shield and engine components. “We’ve been learning with every single landing.”

Some of those lessons have been hard ones. One booster failed to land after a Feb. 15 launch, breaking a streak of successful landings lasting nearly a year. The company later said an engine shut down during flight when hot gas got through a hole in an engine cover that was a “life leader” in the Falcon 9 fleet, with more launches than any others in the Falcon 9 fleet. The shutdown meant the booster did not have enough thrust for a landing on a droneship.

“The more you fly, the more you learn,” Benji Reed, senior director for human spaceflight programs at SpaceX, said of the failed landing at a March 1 briefing about the upcoming NASA Crew-2 commercial crew mission. “That’s a great lesson that we learned from these very long life leader components and vehicles.” Those lessons, he said, included revised plans to inspect and replace components

Once a booster reaches the milestone of 10 flights, “we will continue to look at that booster and make an assessment whether we can move forward with it,” Koenigsmann said. He suggested the booster may be able to continue to operate, perhaps after replacing some components that wear out. “I don’t think the number 10 is a magic number.”


Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-sets-new-booster-reuse-mark-with-starlink-launch/

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Odp: [SN] SpaceX marks anniversary of first launch with Starlink mission
« Odpowiedź #47 dnia: Marzec 25, 2021, 02:22 »
SpaceX marks anniversary of first launch with Starlink mission
by Jeff Foust — March 24, 2021 [SN]


A stack of 60 Starlink satellites shortly before their deployment from the Falcon 9 upper stage on a March 24 launch. Credit: SpaceX webcast

WASHINGTON — A SpaceX Falcon 9 launched another set of Starlink satellites March 24, 15 years to the day after the company’s first, unsuccessful launch.

The Falcon 9 lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 4:24 a.m. Eastern. The rocket’s upper stage deployed its payload of 60 Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit 64 minutes later.

The rocket’s first stage, on its sixth flight, landed on a droneship in the Atlantic Ocean eight and a half minutes after liftoff. That booster, which first launched last June carrying a GPS satellite, also launched Turksat 5A in January as well as three other Starlink missions.

This launch, by coincidence, took place exactly 15 years after SpaceX conducted the first launch of its Falcon 1 rocket from Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. That March 24, 2006, launch was unsuccessful, as the first stage’s single engine failed about half a minute after liftoff.

Two subsequent Falcon 1 launches also failed before the fourth Falcon 1 launch, carrying a test payload, reached orbit in September 2008. The Falcon 1 flew one more mission in 2009 before SpaceX retired the vehicle in favor of the far larger Falcon 9, which has become the company’s workhorse with more than 110 launches since its introduction in 2010.

This launch was the ninth Falcon 9 mission of 2021 and the fourth this month. Seven of those nine launches, including all four in March, have been dedicated to Starlink, increasing the size of the constellation to more than 1,300 satellites.

Growing capacity and international expansion

The growth of that constellation has been enabled by both the high launch cadence of the Falcon 9 and mass production of satellites. “We’re currently building roughly six satellites a day at our factory in Seattle, which is pretty remarkable,” Jonathan Hofeller, SpaceX vice president for Starlink, said at Spacetide, a Japanese space business conference, held online March 23. He said the company has maintained that production rate for about a year so far.

The satellites launched to date, he said, are all first-generation, or “Gen 1,” spacecraft. “We’re already working on the Gen 2 constellation,” he said. “These satellites will be continuously refreshed as we continue to increase both the network capacity and the density by orders of magnitude. We’re excited to be able to eventually provide a lot more internet than we’re even doing now.” He didn’t disclose additional details about the Gen 2 satellites or their schedule.

SpaceX plans to have global coverage for Starlink by the end of this year. However, as the company expands beta tests in the United States and several other countries, Hofeller noted that the satellite constellation alone is just one element of that rollout. Other key factors include establishing ground stations to serve as gateways as well as the regulatory process, which varies from country to country.

That regulatory process, he said, can be “very challenging” as the company explains its system to national regulators. “That process just takes a while.”

Japan, he suggested, is one the countries where that regulatory process is stretched out. Hofeller said the company identified Japan as a country where it wanted to provide service relatively early, and thanked those who have advocated for Starlink to Japanese regulators. “Anything they can do to speed up the regulatory process will be greatly appreciated,” he said, projecting that Starlink service could begin in Japan “as soon as the very end of this year.”

SpaceX has largely marketed Starlink directly to consumers, a move he said is intended to reduce costs to those customers while also providing a direct feedback loop to SpaceX to help it improve the service. However, as the company expands Starlink into other markets, which range from backhaul services for telecommunications providers to mobility applications, Hofeller said the company would be open to working with partners.

“We are a rocket company,” he said. “As we grow the capacity, it could be inevitable that we have partners globally.”


Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-marks-anniversary-of-first-launch-with-starlink-mission/

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Odp: [SN] SpaceX launches another set of Starlink satellites
« Odpowiedź #48 dnia: Kwiecień 07, 2021, 23:59 »
SpaceX launches another set of Starlink satellites as it nears global coverage
by Jeff Foust — April 7, 2021


The Falcon 9 launch of Starlink satellites April 7 was the 10th Falcon 9 launch of 2021, eight of which have been dedicated to Starlink. Credit: 45th Space Wing

WASHINGTON — SpaceX continued the rollout of its Starlink broadband constellation with another launch of 60 satellites April 7, edging closer to providing continuous global service.

A Falcon 9 lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 12:34 p.m. Eastern. The rocket’s upper stage deployed its payload of 60 Starlink satellites into orbit a little more than an hour later.

The rocket’s first stage landed on a droneship in the Atlantic eight and a half minutes after liftoff. This was the seventh flight for this booster, which first launched the Demo-2 commercial crew mission last May and most recently launched another set of Starlink satellites March 11.

This was the 10th Falcon 9 launch of the year for SpaceX, eight of which have been dedicated to Starlink satellites. The company now has 1,378 satellites in orbit when accounting for those launched and subsequently deorbited, according to statistics maintained by Jonathan McDowell.

That constellation is now nearing the size needed to provide at least basic service globally. “We do have global reach, but we don’t have yet have full connectivity globally,” Gwynne Shotwell, president and chief operating officer of SpaceX, said during an April 6 panel discussion at the Satellite 2021 LEO Digital Forum.

“We hope after about 28 launches we’ll have continuous coverage throughout the globe,” she added. This launch is the 23rd of v1.0 satellites, although a few v0.9 satellites launched nearly two years ago remain in orbit, along with 10 v1.0 satellites launched into polar orbit on a rideshare mission in January. That suggests the company will reach the continuous coverage milestone after four to five more launches.

Those launches would push SpaceX against its current FCC authorization, which allows the company to operate up to 1,584 satellites in orbits at approximately 550 kilometers. The company’s current license from the Federal Communications Commission allows it to operate 2,825 additional satellites at altitudes of 1,100 to 1,300 kilometers. SpaceX had filed a request with the FCC to modify that license, moving those additional satellites to 550 kilometers.

The FCC has yet to rule on that modification, but SpaceX’s current launch rate means the company will hit its current limit of satellites at 550 kilometers within a couple months. Shotwell mentioned during the panel that the company is “bringing our satellites down from our original altitude” to address space sustainability concerns. She did not, though, address the FCC license modification issue beyond saying that the company would continue launching satellites “as we’re allowed.”

Shotwell said the company would press ahead with Starlink launches even after hitting the threshold of continuous global coverage. “The plan after that is to continue to add satellites to provide additional capacity,” she said. That includes launching additional satellites to polar orbit beginning this summer from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Those polar satellites, she said, will likely include laser intersatellite links that the company has experimented with on a few Starlink satellites.

The element of the overall Starlink effort that has attracted the most attention is the series of launches that has created the world’s largest satellite constellation in less than two years. That has not necessarily been the biggest challenge for SpaceX, though.

“The satellites and launch have been pretty straightforward for us. We thought we’d struggle a little bit more on the satellites, but it turns out our Dragon, which is a very sophisticated satellite, helped us tremendously in figuring out the satellite architecture for Starlink,” she said.

What has been a challenge, she said, is dealing with a growing number of customers and building a reliable network, but “none of which we can’t solve.”

Starlink remains in a beta test in the United States and several other countries. Shotwell said there are no plans to end the beta test and move into full commercial service in the near future. “We still have a lot of work to do to make the network reliable,” she said. “We’ll move out of beta when we have a really great product that we are very proud of.”

Another area of effort has been on the ground equipment used by Starlink subscribers, notably the electronically steerable antenna. Shotwell said the company has been working to reduce the cost of that equipment, which is required to win wide-scale adoption.

“We have made great progress on reducing the cost of our terminal,” she said. That equipment originally cost about $3,000. “We’re less than half of that right now.”

Customers currently pay about $500 for that equipment, meaning that SpaceX is still significantly subsidizing those terminals. That may change, though, as the company makes continued progress to lower costs. “We do see our terminals coming in the few-hundred-dollar range within the next year or two.”

Shotwell appeared on a panel with executives of several other satellite operators, many of whom argued that hybrid systems that use satellites in low and medium Earth orbits as well as geostationary orbit, or GEO satellites alone, offer better solutions. “We see absolutely no way, no possibility, that those low-orbit constellations can fulfill the latent demand of all the unserved population today,” said Rodolphe Belmer, chief executive of Eutelsat.

As Belmer and other executives on the panel expressed their reservations about LEO constellations, Shotwell smiled. “I just always smile, by the way, when people make projections about what can and can’t be done with technology,” she said. “I don’t think we have any idea how technology can evolve five years from now.”


Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-launches-another-set-of-starlink-satellites-as-it-nears-global-coverage/

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Odp: [SN] SpaceX launches another set of Starlink satellites
« Odpowiedź #48 dnia: Kwiecień 07, 2021, 23:59 »

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SpaceX to ramp up Vandenberg launch cadence with Starlink missions
April 6, 2021 Stephen Clark [SFN]


File photo of a Falcon 9 launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, on Jan. 11, 2019. Credit: SpaceX

After a lull in launches from America’s primary West Coast rocket base, SpaceX is set to resume a regular cadence of missions from Vandenberg Air Force Base as soon as July to deploy Starlink internet satellites into polar orbits, SpaceX’s president and industry officials said.

The launches from Vandenberg will allow SpaceX’s ever-growing Starlink network to fill in coverage gaps and provide internet connectivity over the poles.

Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s president and chief operating officer, said Tuesday that the company plans to start launching more Starlink satellites into polar orbit this summer. So far, nearly all of the Starlink satellites launched by SpaceX have gone into 341-mile-high (550-kilometer) orbits tilted at an inclination of 53 degrees to the equator.

Speaking on a virtual panel arranged as part of the Satellite 2021 industry conference, Shotwell said Tuesday that SpaceX has roughly 1,320 Starlink satellites currently in orbit. That’s more than six times as many active satellites as owned by any other single operator.

All those satellites flew into orbit on SpaceX’s own Falcon 9 rockets from Florida’s Space Coast.

SpaceX has launched 1,385 Starlink satellites to date, including failed spacecraft and prototypes already removed from orbit.

“We do have global reach but we don’t have full connectivity globally,” Shotwell said. “We hope after about 28 launches, we’ll have continuous coverage throughout the globe. And then the plan after that is to continue to add satellites to provide additional capacity.”

The next launch with 60 Starlink satellites is scheduled for 12:34 p.m. EDT (1634 GMT) Wednesday from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. It will be the 23rd Falcon 9 launch dedicated to hauling operational Starlink satellites, known as Version 1.0, into orbit, and the 26th Falcon 9 mission overall with Starlink payloads on-board.

SpaceX launched the first 10 operational Starlink satellites into polar orbit Jan. 24 on a rideshare mission with 133 other small spacecraft.

The Federal Communications Commission has authorized SpaceX to deploy some 12,000 Starlink satellites operating at Ku-band, Ka-band, and V-band frequencies, and at a range of altitudes and inclinations in low Earth orbit. Last April, SpaceX requested approval from the FCC to operate its Starlink satellites at lower altitudes than initially planned, all between 335 miles (540 kilometers) and 354 miles (570 kilometers).

SpaceX said the change in altitude would reduce latency of internet signals and allow the company to build out its network more quickly. The company pitched the proposed change as also enabling improved internet connectivity over polar regions, a capability desired by the U.S. military, and reducing the risk that dead or failed satellites might become a long-term source of space junk.

In November, SpaceX sought authorization from the FCC to fly 348 Starlink satellites in sun-synchronous orbits at an altitude of 348 miles (560 kilometers). Those satellites would launch into polar orbits inclined 97.6 degrees to the equator.

The FCC approved SpaceX to launch the first 10 Starlink satellites into a sun-synchronous orbit aboard the Jan. 24 rideshare mission on a Falcon 9 rocket. FCC approval is still pending for the rest of the Starlink satellites in the lower-altitude sun-synchronous orbit.

Shotwell said Tuesday SpaceX aims to start launching more Starlink satellites into polar orbits in the next few months.

“We will do some polar launches starting this summer to get connectivity over the poles as well,” she said.

Shotwell confirmed SpaceX’s previous statements that the polar-orbiting satellites, which will fly in a north-south track around Earth, will have inter-satellite laser links. The laser communication terminals were aboard the 10 Starlink satellites launched into a polar orbit Jan. 24.

Laser inter-satellite links will allow SpaceX to route communications signals between the spacecraft in the Starlink constellation, eliminating the equipment to pass the internet traffic through a ground station. SpaceX currently uses ground stations scattered around the United States to operate the Starlink network for beta testing.

“We don’t currently have laser links on the (Version) 1.0 satellites, although the polar satellites, we hope to have a good laser system operating for those,” Shotwell said.

During SpaceX’s webcast of the Jan. 24 launch with the first service-capable polar-orbiting Starlink satellites, a company official said many of the future Starlink spacecraft launching into polar orbit will take off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

SpaceX launched the first two prototype Starlink satellites from Vandenberg in 2018, but all Starlink spacecraft since then have taken off from Florida.

Industry officials have also recently said SpaceX aims to start launching Falcon 9 rockets from Vandenberg with Starlink satellites as soon as July. Officials said SpaceX could ramp up to a cadence of launching one Starlink mission per month from the California launch base overlooking the Pacific Ocean some 140 miles (225 kilometers) northwest of Los Angeles.



Sixty Starlink satellites prepare for deployment from a Falcon 9 rocket upper stage during a launch in March. Credit: SpaceX

In the meantime, SpaceX is expected to continue launching Starlink satellites from Cape Canaveral into 53-degree inclination orbits to add more network capacity and replace older spacecraft.

Two Falcon 9 missions from Cape Canaveral have launched payloads into polar orbit, employing a southerly trajectory that goes parallel to Florida’s East Coast. The southerly launch corridor had not been used for a rocket launch from Florida’s Space Coast since the 1960s until SpaceX used it last year.

Both of SpaceX’s polar launch missions from Cape Canaveral have carried relatively light payloads. The trajectory toward the south requires the Falcon 9 rocket to devote some of its propellant to slightly change direction after liftoff, a maneuver that ensures the launcher would not drop debris over South Florida.

That maneuver reduces the weight the Falcon 9 can carry into orbit. A straight shot into orbit from Vandenberg would maximize the rocket’s payload lift capability.

SpaceX builds the Starlink satellites at a factory in Redmond, Washington. SpaceX officials said last year the assembly line can produce as many as six Starlink satellites per day.

The current version of the Starlink satellites weigh around 573 pounds (260 kilograms). Each spacecraft has a krypton-fueled electric propulsion system, communications antennas, a deployable solar panel, and a sun-blocking visor to reduce the satellite’s visibility from the ground.

Sixty of the Version 1.0 Starlink satellites can fit inside the payload shroud of a Falcon 9 rocket. SpaceX has not said how many Starlink satellites will launch on each Falcon 9 mission from Vandenberg Air Force Base, or disclosed the mass of the polar-orbiting satellites with inter-satellite laser links.

SpaceX has launched 16 of its 112 Falcon 9 rocket missions from Vandenberg. But just two Falcon 9 rockets have taken off from SpaceX’s launch pad at Vandenberg in the last two years.

That launch rate is sure to pick up with the start of Starlink missions from Vandenberg. SpaceX has at least two more Falcon 9 launches confirmed from Vandenberg this year — a mission in September to loft the first batch of next-generation commercial WorldView Legion Earth observation satellites for Maxar, and a flight in November with NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test spacecraft.

SpaceX’s second dedicated small satellite rideshare mission, known as Transporter-2, was previously slated to launch in June from Vandenberg. Officials with payloads on that mission have said in recent weeks that SpaceX moved Transporter-2 launch to Cape Canaveral.

SpaceX has been testing the Starlink network’s speed and latency since last year through a beta testing program. Customers in the northern United States, Canada, parts of Europe, Australia, and New Zealand are already participating in the beta testing.

Shotwell said Tuesday that SpaceX is focusing hitting “performance marks” before transitioning the Starlink network into full-scale commercial service.

“We still have a lot of work to do to make the network reliable,” Shotwell said. “We still have drops, not necessarily just because of where the satellites are in the sky. So we’ll move off of beta when we have a really great product that we are very proud of.

“Most of the folks that have signed up on the beta program … either were completely disconnected and desperate and just loving the fact that they can do anything online, or they’re pretty tech savvy folks who are testing the network, giving us feedback,” she said. “So I think the beta phase is very helpful.”

SpaceX is accepting pre-orders from would-be Starlink consumers, who can pay $99 to reserve their place in line to get Starlink service when it becomes available in their area. For people in the southern United States and other lower-latitude regions, that should come later this year, SpaceX says.

Once confirmed, customers will pay $499 for a Starlink antenna and modem, plus $50 in shipping and handling, SpaceX says. A subscription will run $99 per month.

While SpaceX has hinted that the Starlink network might one day number as many as 42,000 satellites, Shotwell said the actual number of Starlink spacecraft in orbit at any given time will hinge on market demand.

“The plan is to operate a network that is very reliable, low latency, and accessible to everybody, literally, on the planet,” she said Tuesday. “And we’ll add satellites to add capacity. Once we have the network, the mesh network, then basically every new launch just adds capacity, so we’ll be able to monitor how things are going and how is our service, and if it’s good and people like it, then we’ll continue to add satellites as we’re allowed.”


Source: https://spaceflightnow.com/2021/04/06/spacex-to-ramp-up-vandenberg-launch-cadence-with-starlink-missions/
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Odp: [SN] FCC approves Starlink license modification
« Odpowiedź #50 dnia: Kwiecień 29, 2021, 10:15 »
FCC approves Starlink license modification
by Jeff Foust — April 27, 2021 Updated 7:30 p.m. Eastern with comment from Amazon, Viasat and Elon Musk.

WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission approved a modification of SpaceX’s license for its Starlink constellation, allowing the company to operate more than 2,800 additional satellites in lower orbits.

Source: https://spacenews.com/fcc-approves-starlink-license-modification/

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Odp: [SFN] SpaceX to resume Starlink flights
« Odpowiedź #51 dnia: Kwiecień 29, 2021, 10:18 »
SpaceX to resume Starlink flights, stretching reused Falcon rockets to their limits
April 27, 2021 Stephen Clark [SFN]

SpaceX aims to resume launching satellites for its Starlink internet network with the liftoff of a Falcon 9 rocket Wednesday night at Cape Canaveral, and company founder Elon Musk says SpaceX will use the sizeable backlog of Starlink missions to keep pushing the envelope and find the Falcon booster’s reuse life limit.

Source: https://spaceflightnow.com/2021/04/27/spacex-to-resume-starlink-launches-stretching-reused-falcon-boosters-to-their-limits/

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Odp: [SN] SpaceX launches Starlink satellites
« Odpowiedź #52 dnia: Kwiecień 29, 2021, 19:06 »
SpaceX launches Starlink satellites
by Jeff Foust — April 29, 2021


A set of Starlink satellites separates from the Falcon 9’s upper stage after its April 28 launch. Credit: SpaceX webcast

WASHINGTON — SpaceX launched another set of Starlink satellites April 28, its first since the FCC approved a modification that allows the company to operate more satellites in lower orbits.

The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 11:44 p.m. Eastern. The rocket’s upper stage deployed its payload of 60 Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit nearly 65 minutes later.

The launch took place a day after the Federal Communications Commission approved SpaceX’s request to modify its Starlink constellation. The modification will move 2,814 satellites originally approved for launch in orbits of 1,100 to 1,300 kilometers to orbits of 540 to 570 kilometers, similar to the 550-kilometer orbits used by existing Starlink satellites.

SpaceX did not mention the FCC’s decision in its webcast. However, it did discuss how it chose lower orbits for spaceflight safety, ensuring that satellites will deorbit within several years of the end of their lives. It also mentioned its work with the 18th Space Control Squadron, sharing data on the orbits of Starlink satellites for collision avoidance activities, as well as a recent agreement with NASA to coordinate maneuvers between Starlink and NASA spacecraft in low Earth orbit.

“We are extremely proud of our efforts to not only provide internet access to the disconnected, but also ensure space remains a place where human spaceflight continues to grow,” Jessie Anderson, host of the webcast, said.

With this launch, SpaceX has now placed 1,505 Starlink satellites into orbit, of which 1,434 remain in orbit. The company was approaching its previous authorization of 1,584 satellites in 550-kilometer orbits when the FCC approved its license modification to allow more satellites in those lower orbits.

The Falcon 9’s first stage landed on a droneship in the Atlantic about eight and a half minutes after launch. The booster completed its seventh flight, which included launches of a GPS 3 satellite, the Turksat 5A communications satellite and five Starlink missions.

SpaceX has been using the Starlink launches to push the limits of reusability of the Falcon 9 first stage. “There doesn’t seem to be any obvious limit to the reusability of the vehicle,” Elon Musk, chief executive of SpaceX, said at an April 23 NASA press conference after the Crew-2 launch. “We do intend to fly the Falcon 9 booster until we some kind of a failure with the Starlink missions, have that be a life-leader.”

Musk’s comments came after the first launch of a reused Falcon 9 first stage on a crewed mission. The Crew-2 launch used the same first stage that flew the Crew-1 mission the previous November.

Musk said he and NASA have discussed what the optimal number of launches of a booster might be. “Do you want to be on a brand-new booster?” he asked. “You probably don’t want to be on the life leader for a crewed mission, but it’s probably good to have a flight or two under its belt.” He suggested a “couple of flights” might be best for a booster launching a crewed mission.

“It’s a hard problem for a rocket,” he said of reusability.

SpaceX also used the launch to honor Michael Collins, the Apollo 11 astronaut who died earlier that day at the age of 90. “Godspeed Apollo 11’s Michael Collins,” the SpaceX launch director said as the rocket lifted off. “May the pursuit of exploration live on.”


Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-launches-starlink-satellites/

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Odp: [SN] SpaceX continues Starlink deployment with latest launch
« Odpowiedź #53 dnia: Maj 05, 2021, 03:21 »
SpaceX continues Starlink deployment with latest launch
by Jeff Foust — May 4, 2021 [SN]


A SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts off May 4 carrying another set of 60 Starlink satellites. Credit: SpaceX webcast

WASHINGTON — SpaceX continued the deployment of its Starlink broadband megaconstellation May 4 with the second launch of 60 satellites in less than a week.

A Falcon 9 lifted off from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A at 3:01 p.m. Eastern. The rocket’s second stage released its payload of 60 Starlink satellites 64 minutes later.

Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-continues-starlink-deployment-with-latest-launch/

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Odp: Różne artykuły o sieci satelitarnej Starlink
« Odpowiedź #54 dnia: Maj 09, 2021, 21:32 »
SpaceX sets booster reuse milestone on Starlink launch
by Jeff Foust — May 9, 2021 [SN]


A Falcon 9 first stag completes its tenth flight May 9 landing on a droneship in the Atlantic after the launch of a set of Starlink satellites. Credit: SpaceX webcast

WASHINGTON — SpaceX launched a set of Starlink satellites May 9 on a Falcon 9 whose first stage was making its tenth flight, a long-awaited goal in the company’s reusability efforts.

The Falcon 9 lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 2:42 a.m. Eastern. The rocket’s upper stage deployed its payload of 60 Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit nearly 65 minutes later.

The launch, the third in less than two weeks for SpaceX, brings the total number of Starlink satellites in orbit to more than 1,550. The company is gradually expanding its beta test program for the broadband internet service as the constellation grows. SpaceX noted on the launch webcast that it opened up that beta test program in the last week to people in Austria and France.

The launch itself was noteworthy as it marked the first time a Falcon 9 first stage had flown 10 times. The booster first launched the Demo-1 commercial crew test flight in March 2019. It later launched the Radarsat Constellation Mission, the SXM-7 satellite for SiriusXM and six Starlink missions, most recently March 14, before this launch.

SpaceX had long identified 10 flights as a goal for Falcon 9 reuse in order to justify the significant investment the company made into reusability. In recent months, though, company executives have suggested that the booster can fly more than 10 times.

“There doesn’t seem to be any obvious limit to the reusability of the vehicle,”
Elon Musk, chief executive of SpaceX, said at an April 23 NASA press conference after the Crew-2 launch. (...)

Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-sets-booster-reuse-milestone-on-starlink-launch/
« Ostatnia zmiana: Maj 12, 2021, 00:34 wysłana przez Orionid »

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Odp: Różne artykuły o Starlink
« Odpowiedź #55 dnia: Maj 12, 2021, 00:39 »
SpaceX reaches rocket reuse milestone on Starlink launch
May 9, 2021 Stephen Clark [SFN]


A Falcon 9 rocket heads downrange after liftoff Sunday. Credit: Stephen Clark / Spaceflight Now

The launch of another 60 Starlink internet spacecraft from Cape Canaveral Sunday thrust SpaceX past a major milestone in rocket reuse: the 10th successful flight of a Falcon 9 booster. The mission marked the fourth SpaceX launch from Florida in 16 days, with the next batch of Starlink satellites due to blast off next Saturday. (...)

When the current version of the Falcon 9 rocket — known as the Block 5 — launched for the first time in 2018, SpaceX officials said the booster could fly 10 times before requiring major refurbishment. (...)

Elon Musk, SpaceX’s founder and CEO, said last month that the company now plans to test the limits of reusing Falcon 9 boosters, aiming to fly the rockets until one breaks. SpaceX will take that risk on missions launching the company’s own Starlink internet satellites.

Source: https://spaceflightnow.com/2021/05/09/spacex-reaches-rocket-reuse-milestone-on-starlink-launch/

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Odp: Różne artykuły o Starlink
« Odpowiedź #56 dnia: Maj 16, 2021, 20:14 »
SpaceX launches Starlink satellites and rideshare payloads
by Jeff Foust — May 15, 2021 [SN]


A Falcon 9 lifts off from the Kennedy Space Center May 15 carrying 52 Starlink satellites and two rideshare payloads. Credit: SpaceX webcast

WASHINGTON — A SpaceX Falcon 9 launched another group of Starlink satellites May 15 on a mission that included two rideshare payloads.

The Falcon 9 lifted off from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A at 6:56 p.m. Eastern. The rocket’s first stage, making its eighth launch dating back to the Demo-2 commercial mission nearly a year ago, landed on a droneship in the Atlantic.

The rocket’s primary payload, 52 Starlink satellites, separated from the rocket’s upper stage 1 hour and 38 minutes after liftoff. The launch brings the total number of Starlink satellites in orbit to more than 1,600. This was the fourth Falcon 9 launch of Starlink satellites in 17 days, and the ninth Falcon 9 launch of Starlink satellites since the beginning of March.

Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-launches-starlink-satellites-and-rideshare-payloads/

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Odp: Różne artykuły o Starlink
« Odpowiedź #57 dnia: Maj 26, 2021, 23:57 »
SpaceX sets Falcon 9 fairing reuse mark with Starlink launch
by Jeff Foust — May 26, 2021 [SN]


A Falcon 9 lifts off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, May 26 with another payload of Starlink satellites. Credit: SpaceX webcast

WASHINGTON — A SpaceX Falcon 9 launched another set of Starlink satellites May 26 on a launch that highlighted an often-overlooked aspect of the company’s reusability efforts.

The Falcon 9 lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 2:59 p.m. Eastern. The rocket’s upper stage released its payload of 60 Starlink satellites into orbit 64 minutes later.

The rocket’s first stage landed on a droneship in the Atlantic eight and a half minutes after liftoff. In contrast to some recent Starlink launches, where the Falcon 9 boosters had launched as many as 10 times, this Falcon 9 first stage was on only its second launch, having previously been used to launch the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich ocean science satellite in November 2020.

SpaceX did set a different kind of reuse milestone on this launch. One of two halves of the payload fairing was on its fifth flight, the first time a payload fairing section had flown five times. The fairing half flew on four previous Starlink launches dating back to 2019. The second fairing half was on its third launch, having been used previously on a Starlink launch and the Transporter-1 rideshare mission in January.

The launch was also the 40th Falcon 9 mission to fly at least one reused payload fairing half. The company had quietly made regular use of previously flown payload fairings, which deploy parachutes after separation from the rocket’s upper stage and are recovered in the ocean by boats.

Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-sets-falcon-9-fairing-reuse-mark-with-starlink-launch/

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Odp: Różne artykuły o Starlink
« Odpowiedź #58 dnia: Lipiec 01, 2021, 00:06 »
Space Development Agency celebrates launch of its first satellites
by Sandra Erwin — June 30, 2021 [SN]


A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched the Transporter 2 rideshare mission with 88 small satellites June 30, 2021 from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Credit: SpaceX livestream

These are the Space Development Agency's first in-space experiments since it was established in 2019.

WASHINGTON — The Defense Department’s space agency on June 30 hailed the deployment of its first missions which flew to orbit on a SpaceX rideshare carrying 88 small satellites.

“Today’s missions will provide real-world data that we can use to verify our engineering assumptions and space-qualify a significant emerging technology,” Derek Tournear, director of the Space Development Agency said in a statement after SpaceX confirmed the agency’s payloads successfully separated.

Source: https://spacenews.com/space-development-agency-celebrates-launch-of-its-first-satellites/

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Odp: Różne artykuły o Starlink
« Odpowiedź #59 dnia: Lipiec 01, 2021, 08:38 »
SpaceX rocket hauls 88 small satellites into polar orbit
June 30, 2021 Stephen Clark [SFN]


A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket takes off from pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station to begin the Transporter 2 rideshare mission. Credit: Michael Cain / Spaceflight Now / Coldlife Photography

SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket and 88 small satellites from Cape Canaveral Wednesday, sending the rideshare payloads on a southerly track into a polar orbit and notching the eighth successful flight of a reusable booster that debuted exactly one year ago.

Source: https://spaceflightnow.com/2021/06/30/spacex-rocket-hauls-88-small-satellites-to-orbit/

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Odp: Różne artykuły o Starlink
« Odpowiedź #59 dnia: Lipiec 01, 2021, 08:38 »