SpaceX schedules Starlink, Starship launches hours apart

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Teslarati 04 May, 2021 - 04:00am 19 views

One rocket has launched a quarter of the SpaceX Starlink satellites and it's not done

CNET 04 May, 2021 - 09:00am

For almost two decades now, SpaceX has been out to prove that rockets should be treated more like airplanes than candy wrappers. In other words, they should be reusable. The company's next Starlink launch will illustrate just how successful Elon Musk has been in reaching this goal.

SpaceX on Tuesday will conduct what has become a very routine mission to send another batch of 60 Starlink broadband satellites into low-Earth orbit. This will be the 26th such launch primarily dedicated to Starlink if you count the first group of early test satellites launched in May 2019 (and leave out the Transporter-1 rideshare that carried just 10 Starlinks).

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But what's perhaps most remarkable is the first stage booster that will lift off from Cape Canaveral in Florida on Tuesday afternoon. It's expected to be the same Falcon 9 first-stage that has already flown on eight other missions, meaning it will be making a record-tying ninth career flight. The current record holder for most launches and landings is naturally a different Falcon 9. 

The booster flying this week (listed as B1049) will be undertaking its seventh Starlink mission, which means that if all goes well B1049 will be responsible for launching more than 25 percent of all Starlink satellites ever launched, all by its lonesome.

Targeting Tuesday, May 4 at 3:01 p.m. EDT for Falcon 9 launch of 60 Starlink satellites from LC-39A in Florida, but team is keeping an eye on weather in the recovery area

And the booster that B1049 will share the total launch record with, B1051, is responsible for 23 percent of Starlink. So together, just two Falcon 9 rocket boosters have managed to lift nearly half of the more than 1,500 Starlinks launched to date.

Clearly, rockets really can be recycled.

As if B1049's Starlink service weren't enough, it also flew two larger satellite missions before the first Starlink launch. We'll see how much more life this single high-powered candle has left in it.

You can watch its ninth career launch right here via the feed above. Liftoff is currently set for 12:01 p.m. PT (3:01 p.m. ET) Tuesday, so long as weather cooperates in the landing zone in the Atlantic Ocean. The livestream should begin about 10 minutes before launch.

Follow CNET's 2021 Space Calendar to stay up to date with all the latest space news this year. You can even add it to your own Google Calendar.  

SpaceX prepping for next Starlink launch from Florida, but weather a concern

Florida Today 04 May, 2021 - 09:00am

SpaceX teams at Kennedy Space Center in Florida are set for the company's next launch of a Falcon 9 rocket with 60 Starlink satellites this week.

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SpaceX teams at Kennedy Space Center are set for the company's next launch of a Falcon 9 rocket with 60 Starlink satellites this week, though downrange conditions in the Atlantic Ocean remain a concern.

"Targeting Tuesday, May 4, at 3:01 p.m. ET for Falcon 9 launch," SpaceX said via Twitter after a successful test fire of the rocket's Merlin main engines early Monday. "But team is keeping an eye on weather in the recovery area."

The Space Force's latest forecast calls for 80% "go" conditions around pad 39A. But downrange in the Atlantic, at-sea conditions are expected to pose a "moderate risk" to booster recovery on the Of Course I Still Love You drone ship. If seas are too rough, it could make Falcon 9's autonomous landing more difficult or even topple a newly landed booster into the ocean.

Tuesday's launch includes an instantaneous window, meaning Falcon 9 must launch exactly on time or delay to another day. This means teams will be unable to wait for any inclement weather to clear the area during the window.

If successful, a landing on Tuesday would mark the company's 82nd booster recovery to date. The mission is also the Space Coast's 13th launch of the year and 26th Starlink flight overall.

SpaceX has launched roughly 1,500 Starlink satellites to low-Earth orbit, where most are still functional and beaming high-speed internet connectivity to thousands of customers in North America. The company hopes to deploy thousands more satellites to increase coverage – soon to Europe, then slowly across the globe – and overall performance.

For the latest, visit floridatoday.com/launchschedule.

© 2021 www.floridatoday.com. All rights reserved.

SpaceX considers North Pole station to support global internet service

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner 04 May, 2021 - 09:00am

Mostly cloudy skies. Low 36F. Winds NE at 10 to 20 mph..

Mostly cloudy skies. Low 36F. Winds NE at 10 to 20 mph.

Starlink test satellites are stacked atop a Falcon 9 rocket, close to being put into orbit in this 2019 image. Courtesy SpaceX

SpaceX Services Inc. has filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission to develop an Earth station to support the company’s Starlink Internet Network, a proposed worldwide satellite system for beaming high-speed broadband internet service. 

Starlink test satellites are stacked atop a Falcon 9 rocket, close to being put into orbit in this 2019 image. Courtesy SpaceX

North Pole may become a host site for a “satellite Earth station,” under a plan by Elon Musk’s SpaceX to develop a global internet network that reaches remote communities in Alaska and around the world.

SpaceX Services Inc. has filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission to develop an Earth station to support the company’s Starlink Internet Network, a proposed worldwide satellite system for beaming high-speed broadband internet service. 

“Starlink is really meant for those who are least served,” Musk said in a tweet about his goals for the internet service.

Other companies vying to bring the internet to communities where it is a challenge include Alaska-based Pacific Dataport, working with OneWeb, and Amazon’s Kuiper Systems.

The competition to deliver satellite broadband service would help to close a digital divide between connected communities and sparsely populated areas without access.

In its FCC application, SpaceX identified “Fairbanks, AK” as the site for an Earth station. SpaceX also has considered Earth stations in Ketchikan and Nome.

According to coordinates provided on the FCC application, the site for the Earth station is vacant land at or near an existing satellite tracking facility in North Pole, in the Fairbanks North Star Borough. That facility is run by the U.S. division of the global Swedish Space Corp., or SSC Space U.S. 

The News-Miner asked SSC Space U.S. if the company is partnering with SpaceX for the Earth station. 

Anni Bölenius, head of communications, said this week: “It is correct that SSC Space U.S owns and operates a satellite station in the North Pole, but we do not comment on any station activities.”

FCC authorization is required for SpaceX to operate a transmitting satellite Earth station.

The applicant must specify frequency bands and satellites to be used by the Earth station, the diameter of the antenna, and proposed power and power density levels, the FCC said in an email statement to the News-Miner. 

“SpaceX Services seeks authority for a new Ka−band gateway Earth station located in Fairbanks, AK,” according to the FCC application. 

Local zoning rules allow for communications facilities without a zoning permit, said Christine Nelson, who directs the  Department of Community Planning for Fairbanks North Star Borough.

SpaceX is setting up Earth stations, also known as ground stations, around the globe to communicate with its satellites. Satellites fly at low Earth orbit to enable faster internet service, as the signal has a shorter distance to travel. Antennas at Earth stations are remote-controlled to transmit and receive data, according to the FCC application. The Earth stations link to data centers that connect to the world wide web.

“SpaceX is looking forward to connecting locations on Earth where internet connection is unreliable and non-existent,” according to Tesmanian, which reports on SpaceX and other Musk ventures. 

Global internet service for consumers everywhere

SpaceX is launching thousands of satellites to achieve global internet service. 

In January, a rocket carried 10 satellites to polar orbit, as part of a testing and development phase to facilitate internet access to remote areas that include Alaska. This week the FCC granted a request by SpaceX to fly 2,814 satellites at a lower orbit, enabling faster internet service in the Arctic region. 

“Several individuals, businesses, and organizations from Alaska submitted letters urging the approval for “SpaceX to begin deployment of its Starlink service in Alaska,” the FCC said in an order and authorization released April 27.

Consumers in remote Alaska, including people in tribal communities, discussed “the scarcity of reliable internet service, the extreme expense of the internet service that is available, the difficulties of maintaining that service, and the effect this has on Alaska communities,” the FCC said.

“They argue the Starlink service will finally bring ubiquitous internet connectivity within reach for these areas.” 

The Starlink Internet Network, which is in beta mode, is up and running in many parts of the U.S. and abroad.

Consumers can access unlimited, high-speed broadband service, for $100 per month, after an initial purchase of a small dish with a WiFi router, stand and cables for $500, which the company ships to subscribers. 

In February, Government Technology reported that Starlink is letting Alaskans sign up for service, in advance of delivery, projected for 2022. 

“Starlink is ideally suited for areas of the globe where connectivity has typically been a challenge,” according to the Starlink website. 

“Unbounded by traditional ground infrastructure, Starlink can deliver high-speed broadband Internet to locations where access has been unreliable or completely unavailable.”

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Space schedule: Starlink satellites to launch Tuesday from Kennedy Space Center

St. Augustine Record 04 May, 2021 - 09:00am

• SpaceX plans to launch a Falcon 9 rocket and Cargo Dragon capsule June 3 in a resupply mission to the International Space Station from Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39A.

• United Launch Alliance plans to launch the Atlas V Boeing CST-100 Starliner crewed flight test in September from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 41. Date and time to be announced.

• United Launch Alliance plans to launch the Atlas V Lucy on Oct. 16 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 41. Lucy uses boosts from Earth's gravity to undergo a 12-year journey to eight different asteroids. Time to be announced.

• United Launch Alliance plans to launch the Boeing Starliner uncrewed spacecraft from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 41. This is the next step before Boeing can launch humans into space. Date and time to be announced.

• For the latest information on launch schedules, visit kennedyspacecenter.com/ launches-and-events

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