With the take-off this evening, nearly 600 devices will be in orbit for the global high-speed satellite connection.
The Starlink satellite fleet has an additional 58 satellites launched by SpaceX to bring the internet around the world. The mission also inaugurated the new commercial ‘shared launch’ service (rideshare launch) of Elon Musk’s company, carrying three SkySat satellites for planetary observation of the American company Planet Labs.
The launch took place with a Falcon 9 rocket from the Cape Canaveral base from where 10 days ago the Musk company had launched another 60 Starlink satellites, breaking the record for the shortest distance between two missions from the same launch platform in the history of ‘company. From the same base, the Crew Dragon shuttle built for NASA by SpaceX also left on May 30, bringing NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the Space Station .
After shutting down its nine main engines, two and a half minutes after the start of the Starlink mission, the first stage of the Falcon 9 disengaged and reversed to land on the floating platform in the Atlantic Ocean 630 kilometers north-east. of Cape Canaveral.
Meanwhile, the second stage of the Falcon 9 continued its run bringing the 58 Starlink satellites and the three SkySat satellites to an average altitude of nearly 300 kilometers, from where it released first the three SkySats and then the 58 Starlinks. This is the ninth mission of SpaceX’s Starlink project, bringing the total number of satellites to 540, including two prototypes launched in February 2018. SpaceX aims to launch around 1,000 Starlink satellites by 2021 to begin offering the first internet services, but for global coverage that includes the most remote areas not reached by cable broadband, the company plans to launch a constellation of 12,000 satellites.