Thursday, 02 April, 2020

SpaceX loses a rocket as more satellites launched

SpaceX launches fifth batch of Starlink satellites, misses booster landing SpaceX botches 50th Falcon rocket booster landing
Cary Erickson | 19 February, 2020, 10:21

SpaceX intends ultimately to launch thousands of satellites to beam broadband around the globe.

A Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 10:05 a.m.

According to The Verge, this is the first instance since 2016 when the Falcon 9's reusable first stage failed to nail its trademark landing on SpaceX's unique floating drone ship platform.

The launch from Cape Canaveral delivered 60 satellites that the company hopes will become part of a constellation of thousands in low Earth orbit that are meant to beam the Internet to remote corners of the world not served by broadband. Originally, the launch was due to February 16, however, had to be delayed due to an issue with a valve component on the rocket's second stage.

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The mishap on Monday (local time) came right after the launch vehicle successfully placed a new batch of Starlink satellites in the Earth's orbit. The total number of satellites is expected to reach 42,000 in the project.

In November a year ago, astronomers at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, documented 20 satellites operated as part of SpaceX's Starlink program streaming across the sky and disrupting the experts' exposure and obscuring the final images. The rocket was the fourth rocket used by the company 4 times.

"We had an on-time liftoff this morning, a good stage separation, first stage made its way back to Earth", manufacturing engineer Jessica Anderson said during a live feed of the mission, which launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 10:05am (1505 GMT). The rocket B1056.4 was previously used to launch two replenishment missions and once to launch a communication satellite.

SpaceX is one of a handful of players that wants to build out a space-based internet system that can serve people who struggle to access the web today via fiber optic and cellular connections. The booster did apparently have a soft landing on the water, and is intact with the potential for recovery, said SpaceX.