With the successful launch of two test satellites for Starlink on Thursday the rocket company SpaceX hopes could be able to provide worldwide broadband internet by the year 2024.
At the clock struck 14:17 UTC at Vandenberg in California the Falcon 9 rocket lifted off the satellites headed south over the Pacific Ocean to achieve a near-polar orbit. About three minutes later the first stage separated from the rest of the rocket. However, no attempts were found from SpaceX to recover it and this is something an uncharacteristic move. It is said booster was an outdated “Block 3” version and so clearing of the stock is in process. More advanced and of course more reusable “Block 5” version will be used in the upcoming launches.
The main payload of the rocket was Hisdesat’s PAZ satellite said to be covering an area of about the size of Italy.
Hisdesat’s PAZ is an advanced imaging satellite sporting a resolution of up to 25 cm.
The secondary payload of the rocket were two smaller test satellites named as “Tintin A” and “Tintin B.”
SpaceX announced the Starlink project about three years ago in January 2015 when Google and Fidelity invested US$1 billion into the company, which proposed to be launching about 12,000 units of smaller communications satellites in low Earth orbit which will be operating within the microwave band of the electromagnetic spectrum. All the launched satellites together will be providing low-latency, broadband internet across the world with fast and responsive data connections unlike today’s communications satellites which are parked in geostationary orbit and have high latency.