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Elon Musk's SpaceX launches 60 satellites

Falcon 9 first stage landing. Image courtesy of SpaceX Falcon 9 first stage landing. Image courtesy of SpaceX

Elon Musk’s SpaceX company has successfully launched all 60 Starlink satellites into orbit. The launch marks the start of a goal to provide global internet coverage across the world with short lag times in signal that is impossible for current satellites to accomplish.

{mprestriction ids="1,2"} The satellites were launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida on 23 May and used their onboard propulsion systems to reach an altitude of 550km. The company also landed its Falcon 9 rocket, marking this rocket’s third flight.

SpaceX designed Starlink to connect end users with low latency, high bandwidth broadband services by providing continual coverage around the world using a network of thousands of satellites in low Earth orbit.

Each Starlink satellite weighs 227 kg and features a flat-panel design with multiple antennas and a single solar array. The first 60 satellites are test versions and will vary slightly from the 12,000 that SpaceX plans to launch in total. For instance, the first 60 will be able to communicate with the ground but not with each other.

SpaceX has confirmed that there will be two constellations, with the second, larger constellation flying at a slightly lower altitude.{/mprestriction}

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