SpaceX launched the 9th batch of its Starlink satellites in space under the First Rideshare Mission. The event took place at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The launch marks an important milestone for SpaceX as the company sets a new record of having launched four missions within a month only.
SpaceX Builds its Satellite Internet Constellation with Starlink Satellites
The importance of Starlink in SpaceX’s missions is inevitable. Once the Starlink satellites are fully deployed, the internet satellite constellation will provide a second revenue to the company. SpaceX self-funds to deploy these satellites. This means that the orbital launch market is capable of sustaining multiple-launch service providers.
Before the launch, SpaceX added an update on its Starlink’s dedicated website to allow users to check the status of the availability of service using a zip code.
Although the company has launched Starlink payloads as often as it can, SpaceX’s network still has not been deployed commercially. This is the fact that has put the company on the back-foot when negotiating with the FCC for funding the provision of broadband support to rural Americans.
SpaceX Marks its Ninth Starlink Mission Successful
Today’s launch payload consisted of 58 Starlink satellites and 3 SkySat satellites by PlanetLab’s. The Falcon 9 rocket propelled the payload in this mission. Once the rocket separated from the payload, it will mark the first deployment of the SkySat satellites in space.
SpaceX correctly anticipated the deployment of SkySat satellites on its website. According to the company, the first SkySat satellite would separate at 12 minutes and thirty-four seconds after liftoff and the other two satellites would separate at intervals of thirty seconds of each other and the first satellite.
Once the SkySat satellites successfully deploy in space, the 58 Starlink satellites will then proceed to deploy about 13 minutes afterward, or 26 minutes after liftoff. At this point, the Falcon 9 stage one booster will return to Earth and land on the “Of Course I Still Love You” vessel by SpaceX.
Once deployed, the total number of Starlink satellites that make part of the constellation will exceed 500. The three SkySat satellites will serve as commercial Earth observation satellites for PlanetLab. They have been built by Maxar Technologies.
These satellites will operate in a polar inclined orbit that is about 450 kilometers above the Earth. Each Starlink Satellite weighs 260 kg and each SkySat satellite weighs 120 kg. This makes the total mass of the satellites equal to 15.4 tons.
Once SpaceX is able to launch more satellites under the Starlink constellation, it will be able to have NASA and USAF contracts and plans for the Starship launch and landing vehicle platform.