SpaceX continues its rapid expansion launching another round of Starlink satellites into low-Earth orbit (LEO). That brings the the total number to more than 1,300.
The 25th Starlink satellite mission thus far launched occurred earlier today (March 24) from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The Falcon 9 rocket also successfully landed at sea on SpaceX's floating platform.
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The latest launch makes it SpaceX's ninth of 2021, bring this year's total to 430 satellites. That's a rapid clip, as between 2018 and 2020 Elon Musk's rocket company had only thrown up 895 satellites into orbit.
"This is the sixth landing for this booster and the 78th landing overall," said Andy Tran, a production supervisor at SpaceX via the online launch stream. "What a way to start the day."
The latest launch gives Starlink a total of 1,325 satellites. The first Starlink satellite internet constellation is set to be 1,440, meaning that Elon Musk is a few launches away from reaching his initial goal.
"With more than 100 successful flights of Falcon 9 and 78 recoveries of our first stage to date, we've made a lot of progress since then," said Tran.
As for how this affects current coverage, those in Northern latitudes — the areas above Seattle and into Canada — should see more consistent coverage. This also extends to users in the U.K. While the current Starlink coverage map data shows that users below Seattle can access the service, the best reception current favors higher latitudes at the moment.
While 1,325 is an impressive number of satellites, it's still far off from Starlink's ultimate goal of launching 12,000 satellites into space.
It should be noted, that Starlink has put in a request with the Federal Communications Commission in May of 2020 to launch a total of 30,000 satellites. This could be for a second-generation rollout aimed at improving service.
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