Starlink launch takes operational network past 650

Elon Musk’s SpaceX company has completed the latest launch in its Starlink global satellite internet programme, with the company’s Falcon 9 rocket successfully carrying another batch of 60 satellites into orbit on September 3rd.

The satellites were launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, US, at 8.46am local time, using a recycled first stage booster that had already been used and recovered from a previous launch in June.

Deployment of the 60 satellites was confirmed by SpaceX approximately one hour later, taking Starlink’s total number launched to 715 (62 test satellites and 653 ‘operational Version 1.0’ satellites).

The 653 operational units have been launched in less than a year, starting from 11th November, 2019, with 10 launches in 2020 alone.

This is the first purely Starlink launch carried out by SpaceX since June, with the last three satellite deployments carried out with shared space on the Falcon 9 launch vehicle alongside payloads for other SpaceX customers.

The company says that, in its initial testing of the Starlink network to collect latency data and perform standard speed analysis, it has recorded download speeds of more than 100 Mbps.

Starlink has previously announced its intention to begin offering services in the Northern US and Canada before the end of this year, expanding to offer “near global coverage of the populated world” in 2021. The firm is planning to deploy more than 1,500 Ku-band and Ka-band satellites in an orbit of approximately 550km by late 2021 or early 2022 to reach this service coverage goal.

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Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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