SpaceX completes its fourth successful launch for satellite-based internet service 'Starlink'

Polycount

Posts: 2,954   +589
Staff member

Despite some fears from astronomers surrounding the idea, Starlink's satellite deployment has mostly continued as scheduled. The first Starlink test satellites were launched in May of 2019, and two more batches followed before the end of the year.

Now, SpaceX has hit another milestone: it has successfully launched its fourth Starlink payload via the Falcon 9 rocket, which contained 60 internet-beaming satellites. That might seem like a significant figure -- it brings the total number of active Starlink satellites to about 240 -- but given SpaceX's broader goals, it's a mere drop in the bucket.

Eventually, SpaceX wants to deploy tens of thousands of satellites, which could take a while at the rate the space giant is going. Regardless, the end result will likely be worth it. SpaceX wants Starlink to offer customers high-speed broadband internet at an affordable price, though the details have not been nailed down yet.

You can watch a recording of Starlink's latest launch above, but if you want to learn more about the project as a whole, feel free to check out more of our coverage here. Alternatively, you can drop by the official Starlink website for additional information.

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Uncle Al

Posts: 8,470   +7,296
Interesting that we've never seen a response from Space X on the concerns of so many earth based astronomers that questioned how much and how bad these total release would affect viewing images from the earth. There was also a question about longevity and when each satellite ceases to function if it will drop out of orbit or continue to clutter up space.....
 

Plutoisaplanet

Posts: 593   +972
Interesting that we've never seen a response from Space X on the concerns of so many earth based astronomers that questioned how much and how bad these total release would affect viewing images from the earth. There was also a question about longevity and when each satellite ceases to function if it will drop out of orbit or continue to clutter up space.....
We have seen responses, and it's that SpaceX was working to reduce the reflectivity of their satellites, including by painting one black. It'll take a few weeks before we can see the effects though: https://www.skyandtelescope.com/ast...unches-fourth-starlink-batch-concerns-remain/
After their lifecycle, these satellites will use onboard thrusters to deorbit or, if that fails, burn up in earth's atmosphere: https://www.starlink.com/#debris
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 6,954   +5,463
It will be interesting to see what happens to this venture. If they do not get enough business, I wonder what they plan on doing with all the satellites then. Though I am looking for another ISP, with a fiber provider coming to my neighborhood in the next few months, anything else, including this, is out of the question.

For professional astronomers, after reading the S&T link, these sound like a complete PITA.

Maybe SpaceAx ought to consider something like this - https://www.rochester.edu/news/show.php?id=2701
 

EEatGDL

Posts: 767   +493
It will be interesting to see what happens to this venture. If they do not get enough business, I wonder what they plan on doing with all the satellites then.
I think it can gain traction, just as GPS did. Fortunately for them: the company doesn't depend economically on this sole venture. If this was their only bet, I wouldn't expect them to survive.

Haha, GLONASS is riskier than this.
 

OutlawCecil

Posts: 739   +570
My mother in law lives in the mountains and still has dial-up... I am watching this closely and will be switching her the moment it goes live. fingers crossed.
 

Danny101

Posts: 1,997   +830
My mother in law lives in the mountains and still has dial-up... I am watching this closely and will be switching her the moment it goes live. fingers crossed.
There should be some satellite service available to her that's leaps faster than dial-up. The affordability is questionable though. I suspect she won't be doing a lot of streaming which helps keep the costs down considerably. For streaming, satellite just isn't economical for that yet. More competition can't hurt though.