SpaceX launches 51 Starlink internet satellites since May

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San Francisco, Sep 14 (IANS) SpaceX on Tuesday launched its first full stack of 51 Starlink broadband satellites since May, the media reported.

The satellites blasted off on a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Space Force Station at 11.55 p.m. on Monday night (9.25 a.m. India time Tuesday morning), marking the company’s 22nd launch of the year.

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It also marked a record 10th flight for this particular first stage booster, Space.com reported.

“What a beautiful view of Falcon 9 as it successfully lifts off from pad 4E at Vandenberg Space Force Base, carrying our stack of 51 Starlink satellites to orbit,” SpaceX’s Youmei Zhou was quoted as saying during the launch broadcast.

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“Stage one landed on our drone ship for the 10th time,” Zhou added after the booster touched down, noting it was the company’s 90th successful landing to date.

The mission, called Starlink 29, is the company’s first operational Starlink flight from its West Coast launch facility and will bring the total number of SpaceX broadband satellites launched up to 1,797.

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It is the 22nd Falcon 9 mission for SpaceX so far in 2021.

The flight also marks the first Starlink launch since May, the report said.

SpaceX had paused launches for about four months to equip the satellites with laser crosslinks that allow Starlink satellites to communicate with each other, reducing the constellation’s reliance on Earth, according to the company.

SpaceX began satellite launches in November 2019 and opened its $99 per month beta programme for select customers around a year later.

The company aims to launch around 30,000 Starlink satellites into orbit, and expand its user pool to millions of customers.

The Starlink programme aims to provide high-speed internet access to users around the world, and as a means to help fund its deep-space ambitions.

The service is targeted to users in rural or remote areas that have little to no connectivity, although anyone can subscribe to it.

–IANS

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