Published: Wed, November 13, 2019
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

SpaceX launches second batch of Starlink broadband satellites

SpaceX launches second batch of Starlink broadband satellites

SpaceX's. November 11 Starlink launch was the first to reuse a payload fairing from an earlier mission.

However, amongst the die-hard SpaceX fans watching the launch, many whose job or passion it is to watch and record the night skies will also be keeping an eye out on the developments that occur after 60 fully operational Starlink satellites, each weighing about 227 kilograms, are deployed.

SpaceX later said that it corrected the problem. With multiple satellites within line of sight from any point on Earth's surface, the relay stations are created to seamlessly hand off internet traffic, using satellite-to-satellite "cross links", to provide uninterrupted service. SpaceX plans to increase the launch tempo going into 2020, with one Starlink launch a month.

Since the first 60 Starlink satellites were placed in orbit, Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics along with some amateur astronomers, have been monitoring the brightness of specific satellites compared to the stars around them.

Shortly after the May launch, the American Astronomical Society issued a statement of concern over "the impending deployment of very large constellations of satellites into Earth orbit". Musk has said Starlink could generate $30 billion or more in revenue each year for SpaceX.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with the Dragon spacecraft onboard, launches from pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center on June 3, 2017 in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

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While many of us Earth walkers are taking time off this Monday to observer Veterans Day (or shop the Singles' Day sales bonanza), workaholic futurist Elon Musk has chosen to kick off the November week with a SpaceX mission. The California-based company reuses rocket parts to cut costs.

It also marked the first time that SpaceX used a previously flown nose cone.

SpaceX's goal is to control a huge share of the future Internet market from space. It puts SpaceX closer to its plan to provide global internet coverage.

But the idea of deploying thousands of new devices into Earth's orbit is controversial.

With thousands of satellites about to launch into space, experts are anxious about what would happen if these break down. "These impacts could include significant disruption of optical and near-infrared observations by direct detection of satellites in reflected and emitted light; contamination of radio astronomical observations by electromagnetic radiation in satellite communication bands; and collision with space-based observatories", the statement said.

Besides setting up the foundation for its global satellite internet network, this launch is noteworthy from the perspective of SpaceX's focus on re-usability.

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