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SpaceX successfully launches another 60 Starlink satellites

SpaceX early today successfully used its Falcon 9 rocket to place another 60 Starlink satellites into orbit, bringing that constellation to over 1,300 satellites.

The first stage landed successfully, for the sixth time. Both fairing halves were also reused, and their recovery method has now been simplified:

SpaceX has recently appeared to adjust its fairing recovery strategy. The ships previously dedicated to fairing catch attempts, GO Ms. Chief and GO Ms. Tree, have been stripped of their nets and arms, a possible sign that dry fairing recoveries will no longer be attempted. Post-splashdown recovery has proven to be fairly successful, as recent missions frequently use fairing halves that have flown once if not multiple times before.

The leaders in the 2021 launch race:

9 SpaceX
6 China
4 Russia
2 Rocket Lab

Counting all launches, the U.S. now leads China 13 to 6 in the national rankings.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


  • mkent

    This was an important launch. With it SpaceX will be able to complete their interim configuration of 72 orbital planes of 18 satellites each. Once these satellites reach their operational orbits and complete on-orbit checkout, SpaceX should be able to start initial internet service almost everywhere. There will still be some signal drop-outs, depending on local geography, but they should be of pretty short duration.

    With five more Starlink flights SpaceX will be able to complete their initial constellation of 72 planes of 22 satellites each, allowing them to offer full service over most of the globe. Two Starlink flights in April (along with Crew 2) and three in May will do it.

    Then they wait on the FCC. The other orbits they have authorization to use they no longer want, and the FCC hasn’t approved their new configuration. The timing might work out. SpaceX has three non-Starlink flights a month from June through August, dropping down to two a month the rest of the year. Ramping up launches of a new Starlink design (the one with inter-satellite links) into new orbits starting in September might work out for everybody.

    An amazing feat if they can pull it off, and they’re getting really close now.

  • David K

    It is crazy that a single American company is launching more payloads into space than any country’s national space program. And there are several more companies coming online soon. Fortunately I do not think that the regulatory environment is going to change much regardless of who the NASA administrator is or which party holds power.

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