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A Falcon 9 loaded with Starlink satellites prepares for launch.
I received an email notification that the beta version of the high-speed internet service is now available in my area, which is significantly further south than the initial beta offering in Canada and the northern US. (I’m at latitude 36 degrees in the Northern Hemisphere. Vancouver is at 49 degrees.)
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It’s a sign that the expansion of Starlink is on track, but Elon Musk’s company needs to keep blasting more flying routers into orbit to keep growing and to meet the requirements of its license to operate from the US Federal Communications Commission.
SpaceX should soon launch its next batch of Starlink broadband satellites from Cape Canaveral in Florida. That would be its fifth Starlink mission of 2021 so far.
This particular set of Starlink devices has been delayed from launching at least 10 times due to different technical and weather-related issues. That sounds like a lot, but delays are the name of the game with space launches, and it’s far more unusual for a mission to never be postponed at all.
Now playing: Watch this: Starlink space-based internet, explained
This next launch comes after the last Starlink mission ended with a lost booster that missed its landing on a company droneship and splashed down in the nearby ocean instead. The booster that is set for this mission will be making a record-tying eighth launch and landing. Even before the loss of the other Falcon 9 on Feb. 16, SpaceX opted to do another round of due diligence for this mission.
Standing down from this weekend’s launch attempt of Starlink from LC-39A for additional inspections before flying one of our fleet-leading boosters, as the team continues to drive toward a separate Falcon 9 launch of Starlink from SLC-40 at the end of next week. pic.twitter.com/UvF0TUteQz
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) February 5, 2021
Liftoff, which most recently had been scheduled for Sunday, Monday and then Tuesday, now is set for the early morning hours of Thursday from Kennedy Space Center, followed by the booster landing on a droneship, as well as the attempted recovery of both halves of the fairing.
We will cover the livestream of the launch right here. It’s set to begin about 10 minutes before launch.
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