Early morning today, SpaceX completed its sixth Starlink launch of the year, adding 60 more satellites to the seemingly ever-growing constellation.
The launch comes just a week after the last one, and took place predawn in Cape Canaveral, lighting up the skies before the sun. The booster used to propel the reusable Falcon 9 rocket which carried this batch of satellites, had a successful landing on SpaceX’s drone ship, which was stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. The launch began at 3:13 am EST, and the booster had landed with 8.5 minutes.
This launch was originally planned for two days earlier, on the ninth of March but was delayed to give the firm more time for prelaunch checks. SpaceX plans to launch three more sets of satellite – a total of 180 satellites- in March itself, should the weather and schedule permit.
As more and more satellites get launched, the network speed as well as geographical areas keep increasing. SpaceX has told users to expect speeds between 50 Mbps and 150 Mbps. This makes Starlink’s download (as well as upload) speed much faster when compared to the cellular networks in rural areas. Additionally, the markets are also expanding, with SpaceX now including Germany and New Zealand under its radar. While sign-ups have been opened to everyone now(where users can deposit some amount of money and get a rough timeline for when the service would reach them) Starlink is still in beta and the service is available in select countries only, like Germany, Canada, U.S., U.K and New Zealand.
The company had also announced pre orders for India earlier this month, with expectations to start services in the country by next year.
With its vigorous launch schedule, SpaceX hopes to provide Starlink services worldwide by the end of this year.