SpaceX deployed 53 Starlink Internet satellites into orbit from a Falcon 9 rocket launched Saturday in a foggy flight from Cape Canaveral Space Station, Florida.
“You can see we did have successful deployment of our Starlink satellites here,” SpaceX Dragon propulsion engineer Youmei Zhou said during live commentary. “Starlink is a satellite Internet constellation designed and manufactured by SpaceX that can provide high-speed, low-latency Internet to people living in remote and rural locations all around the globe.”
A layer of dense fog hung over the launch site Saturday morning, but it slowly dissipated once the sun came up, allowing for more visibility for the rocket to launch. SpaceX had postponed the launch Friday due to weather concerns.
Saturday’s launch marked the first SpaceX Starlink launch from Florida on one of its 229-foot-tall workhorse Falcon 9 rockets in six months.
SpaceX also launched a Starlink mission from its California-based launch pad in September.
The company said the number of launches slowed this year to roll out new satellites equipped with laser-based systems to communicate with each other in orbit.
The inter-satellite laser communications reduce reliance on ground stations, which are expensive to deploy and may sometimes come with other geographical or political constraints.
Saturday’s flight released the second batch of SpaceX’s recently upgraded Starlink Internet satellites.
SpaceX successfully launched the first batch carrying 51 Starlink satellites into space in September from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.
“Inter-satellite laser communications means Starlink can carry data at speed of light in vacuum all around Earth before touching ground,” tweeted SpaceX’s founder and CEO Elon Musk. “Over time, some amount of communication can simply be from one user terminal to another without touching the Internet.”
Since Starlink begin in May 2019, SpaceX has launched some 1,500 satellites into orbit for broadband internet service on the ground.Internet Explorer Channel Network