On May 24, SpaceX launched their 8th Falcon 9 mission putting out 60 satellites into low-orbit. Today (June 13) at exactly 5:21 a.m. EDT (or 9:21 UTC) a fresh batch of 58 satellites took off making up to a total of +500 satellites in low-orbit. But why exactly did SpaceX launch new satellites?
Apparently, the mission of this launch is to provide an alternative to our existing internet providing system. While Wi-Fi networks and mobile data provide a wireless signal for our devices to go online, long-range (think intercontinental or intracontinental) data transfer is still handled by long fiber-optic cables.
Roughly half of the world, that's about four billion individuals, still have no reliable access to the internet. Thus, by removing the need to resort to cables to carry the internet data, SpaceX aims to offer much better coverage than what cables can give us at a fair-cost.
An extra orbital ride-sharing
SpaceX has been quite busy recently, with its historical ISS mission partnered with NASA taking place just two weeks ago.
Furthermore, another thing to note about this launch is the three extra satellites from California-based Planet Labs. If the number 58 caught your attention, this is the reason why.
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SpaceX's Falcon 9 is designed to be reusable. About 15 minutes after the launch, Falcon 9 safely made its touchdown.
For its initial phase, SpaceX is aiming to put out 1,584 satellites into 72 orbital planes. Considering the number of satellites launched today, it would take quite some launches until the network is thoroughly set, let's wait and see what the future holds for us and for SpaceX. But it sure does look exciting.