Early this month, we wrote about SpaceX after Elon Musk’s space company reached another milestone with the launch of 60 Starlink satellites. Yesterday, SpaceX successfully launched a full stack of Starlink internet satellites into today (Oct. 18) and capped off the mission with a successful rocket landing at sea.
About 9 minutes after the launch, the booster’s first stage returned to Earth, landing on one of SpaceX’s drone ships in the Atlantic Ocean in a smooth touchdown. The massive ship, called Of Course I Still Love You, is one of two in the company’s fleet of recovery vessels that catch falling boosters and return them to port.
Starlink is a satellite internet constellation that provides satellite Internet access. According to SpaceX, the constellation will consist of thousands of mass-produced small satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO), working in combination with ground transceivers. SpaceX also plans to sell some of the satellites for the military, scientific, or exploratory purposes.
Yesterday’ss flight marked the 18th launch of 2020 for SpaceX and the 95th Falcon 9 flight to date. SpaceX has had a busy summer and could have its busiest launch year yet. In a tweet, SpaceX confirmed the launch saying: “Deployment of 60 Starlink satellites confirmed.” You can watch the video below.
Deployment of 60 Starlink satellites confirmed pic.twitter.com/QVv8m7gClz
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) October 18, 2020
The company has plans to deploy nearly 12,000 satellites in three orbital shells by the mid-2020s, with each satellite weighing about 500 pounds (227 kilograms), making this the heaviest payload flew on a Falcon 9.
The total cost of the decade-long project to design, build, and deploy such a network is estimated at nearly US$10 billion. In 2019 alone, Elon Musk’s SpaceX has raised over $1 billion this year as its internet satellite production ramps up, the company said in an SEC filing released earlier today. As a sign of investors’ interest in the direction of the company, SpaceX said it raised more funding than previously thought. SpaceX venture brought in $1.02 billion since the beginning of the year, more than SpaceX was seeking.