As a part of their ambitious plan to build an interconnected internet network with thousands of satellites which they call Constellation in the space business to deliver high speed internet connection to anyone on the planet, SpaceX, on March 4, launched an entirely new batch of 60 Starlink internet satellites into orbit.
What made this attempt special is that it came after a failed Falcon 9 rocket to land the booster on the drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean on Feb.15. That incident broke their own record of 25-booster recovery streak. The technical reason for that is because of what Benji Reed, senior director for human spaceflight programs at SpaceX, commented on:
“A little bit of hot gas got to where it’s not supposed to be, and it caused that engine to shut down,”
Despite all that, this mission was accomplished with not much trouble when the booster returned to earth to land for its 8th successful landing on SpaceX’s drone ship, “Of Course I Still Love You”, in the Atlantic Ocean.
During a live webcast of the launch, A Dragon propulsion engineer at SpaceX, Youmei Zhou, said:
“And we have confirmation of our successful stage one landing. This will mark our 75th successful recovery of an orbital class rocket and the eighth recovery of this particular booster.”
This latest mission is SpaceX’s 6th mission in 2021 and the 20th SpaceX Starlink mission launching over 1200 Starlink satellites into orbit, including some satellites that are no longer working. All of that is a part of the company’s plan to reach the number of 1440 satellites in space and interestingly, the company has sought approval for tens of thousands more.
This whole mission is a part of SpaceX’s money raising plan to develop and fund their mission of sending astronauts to Mars,
The comment came from Elon Musk, the famous centibillionaire and the chief designer of SpaceX saying:
“We see this as a way for SpaceX to generate revenue that can be used to develop more and more advanced rockets and spaceships,”
“We believe we can use the revenue from Starlink to fund Starship,” Musk added.
The Starship will be designed to be a fully reusable launch system that will be able to board over one hundred space travelers from and to the moon and mars.
So SpaceX is operating a huge project to have the majority of satellites orbiting around the earth in just two years. Musk has already confirmed that the company now has sufficient capital to get to an operational level, competing with Softbank-backed OneWeb, Amazon’s Project Kuiper, Canadian operator Telesat and more. These ambitious satellite networks will require intensive capital, with some industry officials estimating costs running as high as $5 billion.