SpaceX now operates the world's biggest commercial satellite network

SpaceX test-fired a Falcon 9 rocket on Saturday at Cape Canaveral two days before a scheduled launch with 60 Starlink broadband relay stations

SpaceX test-fired a Falcon 9 rocket on Saturday at Cape Canaveral two days before a scheduled launch with 60 Starlink broadband relay stations

The rocket was launched from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The Starlink satellites with join more than 100 already in orbit. Following a successful launch, B1049 was recovered for a fourth time touching down safely on the Of Course I Still Love You droneship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

The U.S. Space Force's 45th Space Wing is preparing for a sharp increase in launch activity driven by SpaceX's deployments of Starlink satellites, with as many as 22 missions projected for 2020.

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SpaceX says Starlink was created to provide broadband internet access to the billions of people around the world who are now underserved - and bring in the revenue that billionaire founder Elon Musk says will be required to fund his vision of building a city on Mars.

For perspective, only about 2,000 operational satellites now circle Earth, and humanity has launched fewer than 9,000 craft since the dawn of the Space Age, according to the U.N. Office for Outer Space Affairs. With thousands of satellites in orbit working with "ground transceivers", Starlink can provide a global internet network to reach areas previously afflicted with "unreliable, expensive, or completely unavailable" internet. The streaks from the satellites' orbits can be seen in astronomical observations.

Elon Musk's company SpaceX is in final preparations hours before launching 60 Starlink satellites into Low Earth Orbit. Both Amazon and OneWeb have similar ambitions, for example, though their envisioned constellations will be much smaller than SpaceX's.

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The combination of firsts and technical feats would lead anyone to believe that Monday night's launch is exceptional. SpaceX already has permission from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to launch up to 12,000 Starlink craft, which are created to provide cheap and efficient internet service to people around the globe.

There will likely be at least one more batch of 60 Starlink satellites scheduled to launch before the end of January. A special coating on the bottom of Starlink satellites could reduce the glare, but how it will affect the performance is now unknown.

Starlink commercial internet services could debut in parts of the United States and Canada after approximately six more launches and global coverage beginning after 24 launches.

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