SpaceX lifted off its second Falcon 9 rocket on Wednesday (June 3) at 9:25 PM EDT.
The rocket was transporting 60 new satellites for its Starlink constellation. SpaceX has sent into orbit 480 satellites so far. Here are the latest details.
More Satellites and a New Record
The recent liftoff took off from Florida, where Elon Musk’s space company launched two NASA astronauts, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, for the first time on May 30. The event marked the final demonstration mission of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon to reach the requirements of NASA’s Commercial Crew project.
Wednesday’s launch (June 3) didn’t include any human passengers. But it did carry the Starlink broadband internet satellites. This load will join the other Starlink satellites positioned in low-Earth orbit. They’re part of a network that will ultimately serve to offer high-bandwidth, steady Internet connectivity, especially in underserved locations where terrestrial networks don’t provide high-speed connections or aren’t present.
The liftoff comprised, too, a test of a recent system that SpaceX developed to hopefully solve a problem its satellites have had with night-time visibility from Earth. The test comes with a visor system installed. The visor system can activate itself post-launch to block the Sun from reflecting on the surfaces of the communication antenna.
It should significantly decrease the sunlight reflected off of the satellite back to our planet if it runs as designed. SpaceX will then find a way to make the system a standard part of its Starlink.
Part of this liftoff included landing the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket utilized for the launch. The rocket has already flown four times, and it has been recovered. SpaceX will try to recover (again) the two fairing halves that form the shielding nose cone utilized during liftoff at the peak of the rocket to protect the payload being transported by the Falcon 9. Today (June 4) marks the 10th anniversary of the first flight of a Falcon 9 rocket