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Starlink L15 makes record setting flight for SpaceX


Nov. 24th 9:13 PM Est, atop a Falcon 9 rocket from SLC-40 at Canaveral Air Force Station

Lift off. Photo by Kyle M.- Next Horizons SpaceFlight

In another historic moment for SpaceX, they have successfully launched and landed a first stage rocket booster for the seventh time. With rain on the launch pad and surrounding areas just moments before launch, the company once again found the window it needed to lift sixty more Starlink satellites off the ground, and into orbit. Flying six previous missions and returning successfully, booster 1049 originally launched Sept. 10th, 2018 for the Telstar 18V mission at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Next it went all the way to Vandenburg Air Force base in California on January of 2019 to launch the Iridium NEXT mission. From there it was back to Florida for four more Starlink missions between May of 2019 all the way to its latest mission in August of 2020.

Long exposure of Starlink L15. Photo by Derek W.- Next horizons SpaceFlight

Starlink again is a satellite internet constellation being assembled by SpaceX to bring satellite internet to the world. Development began in 2015, with the first prototypes being launched in 2018. The first additional 60 test satellites were deployed in May, of 2019. As of November, of this year SpaceX has launched 835 satellites, with plans to have 1,440 up to make the constellation operational by late 2021. In August of this year Starlink rolled out private Beta testing in the Northern U.S. and Canada with public Beta testing in November 2020. When concerns were raised about the long-term dangers of space debris from thousands of satellites above 600 km along with the negative impacts on optical and radio astronomy on Earth the company lowered the orbits to 550 km, and also started launching satellites with anti-reflective coating and experimental sunshades

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