SpaceX just put 60 satellites in orbit with one rocket
SpaceX just became the world's biggest operator of commercial satellite networks in one fell swoop.
CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA — SpaceX launched its third batch of Starlink satellites into orbit from a U.S. Air Force base in Florida on Monday evening.
Space.com reports that a Falcon 9 rocket carried the satellites in its first stage and that the launch marked the second time SpaceX reused a booster four times.
Citing SpaceX, AFP reports that after deployment, the satellites would utilize ion thrusters to reach an orbit of 550 km to avoid collisions at higher, more congested space.
MIT Technology Review reports that SpaceX now operates 180 Starlinks, making the company the owner of the world's largest constellation of commercial satellites.
According to the publication, the reusable first stage booster was successfully recovered by a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean, but not the payload fairing.
The lost component is worth an estimated US$3 million.
However, the program has come under criticism because the satellites reflect glare that interferes with astronomical observatories.
The MIT Technology Review reports that SpaceX has applied a light absorbing coating to the new satellites to address those concerns.
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