After Postponement, SpaceX Set to Deploy Starlink Satellites Directly to Orbit from California on July 11

SpaceX has announced its intention to send 20 more Starlink satellites into space on the night of July 11. Among these, 13 will have the capability to directly connect to cellular networks. The satellites will be launched aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, with the launch window opening at 10:39 p.m. EDT.

The launch had initially been scheduled for a day earlier, but was postponed for unspecified reasons. The entire event will be streamed live on SpaceX’s X account, commencing approximately 15 minutes prior to the launch.

The Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage is designed to return to Earth and is expected to land, approximately eight minutes post-launch, on a droneship in the Pacific Ocean named ‘Of Course I Still Love You’. If this mission is successful, it will be the 19th launch and landing for this particular booster, nearing the current Falcon 9 record of 22 flights.

The upper stage of the Falcon 9 will continue to carry the 20 satellites to low Earth orbit (LEO), where they will be deployed around 59 minutes after the launch. Once in orbit, these satellites will join the existing Starlink megaconstellation which currently comprises over 6,150 operational satellites.

Throughout 2024, SpaceX has already conducted 68 Falcon 9 launches, with 48 of these missions aiming to expand the Starlink megaconstellation. The Starlink project is SpaceX’s ambitious initiative to create a network of small, low-Earth orbit satellites providing global broadband coverage.

To date, more than 100 of the Starlink satellites have been equipped with direct-to-cell capability. This feature allows the satellites to directly connect with cellphones without needing a ground station intermediary. The number of these specially equipped satellites is expected to increase in the future as SpaceX continues to build out its Starlink project.

This mission continues SpaceX’s ongoing efforts to revolutionize global communications. It also underscores the company’s commitment to recover and reuse rocket boosters, a practice that significantly reduces the costs associated with space travel. This launch is part of SpaceX’s broader ambition to facilitate the exploration and permanent settlement of other planets.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *