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SpaceX to launch 60 & # 39; Starlink & # 39; Internet Satellites Thursday



This week, SpaceX will again try to house the first 60 members of its Starlink internet satellite megaconstellation.

If everything goes according to plan, 60 spacecraft will launch on top of a Falcon 9 rocket Thursday evening (May 23) from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, SpaceX announced via Twitter today (May 20).

You can watch the liftoff – which will also include a rocket landing attempt on a ship at sea – here at Space.com when the time comes, with permission from SpaceX or directly via the space airline.

The Starlink satellites were originally scheduled to launch on May 15, but that attempt was interrupted due to large winds. SpaceX canceled another attempt the following night to update software and perform additional checks.

SpaceX represents the Starlink network that offers affordable internet access to people around the world. But it will not happen immediately; About 400 satellites will be needed to provide "smaller" coverage and 800 for "moderate" coverage, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk have said.

The constellation could grow far beyond those numbers, eventually consisting of up to 12,000 satellites, business representatives have said.

Thursday's launch will be the second to the Starlink spacecraft loft. In February 2018, a Falcon 9 was delivered to orbit over two prototype vessels called Tintin A and Tintin B . (The duo flew as a secondary payload, the primary spacecraft on the flight was the Paz Earth-imaging radar satellite.)

Starlink is an important part of SpaceX's ambitious exploration plans. The company plans to use revenue from the constellation to develop and build its spacecraft spacecraft and Super Heavy rocket designed to take people to and from Mars and other distant destinations.

Several other companies see a lot of profit potential in large internet satellite networks as well. For example, OneWeb and Amazon are planning to construct megaconstellations of themselves in the near future.

Mike Wall's book about the search for alien life, " Out There " (Grand Central Publishing, 2018, illustrated by Karl Tate ), is now out. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall . Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook .


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