SpaceX had just successfully completed its second scheduled launch for its upcoming Starlink system. A total of 60 more mini-satellites was placed in orbit today, in order to expand the network that was launched a few months prior.
The Block 5 Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from its standard launch site at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida (at SLC-40), where it boosted its payload towards its deployment point. As usual, the first stage made its routine landing at its designated sea platform successfully, while the second stage simultaneously released all of its 60 mini-satellites, to be slowly oriented towards their planned coordinates.
Elon Musk, SpaceX’s chief executive and founder, has already announced his plans several months ago to develop a space-based internet system that would use a multitude of satellites orbiting the planet, which was officially named Starlink. Each mini-satellite of this space-based internet system is a flat-panel unit with a weight of 227 kilograms (500 pounds). It is designed to coordinate data with an arranged fleet of other mini-satellites similar to its own.
With the second batch of Starlink mini-satellites now on their way to their positions, the next plan is to roll out the internet service as early as next year for Canada and the Northern United States. After that, a total of 24 more additional launches will be made, with the Starlink system eventually becoming available worldwide.
As for reusability, this mission marks the fifth consecutive time that a Block 5 Falcon 9 booster was reused, as well as being the very first time that a fairing was reused after being recovered from a previous mission. If the Block 5 reusability design remains accurate, we can expect the exact same booster to be in service again for at least five more missions in the near future.
Watch the complete launch event here: