Today, on September 3, SpaceX is expected to launch a Falcon 9 vehicle with a batch of 60 mini-satellites to replenish the orbital group of the global Starlink Internet coverage network, the company's website reports. Packed inside the fairing at the top of rocket, the satellites will liftoff from Kennedy Space Center's launch complex 39A.
Starlink satellites are launched every two weeks or so and are created to provide high-speed broadband internet in remote areas around the world.
SpaceX's first-stage booster returned to Earth roughly 9 minutes after launch and landed on one of SpaceX's drone ships floating on the deep waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
A backup opportunity is available on Friday, September 4. Kate Tice, senior program reliability engineer at SpaceX, said during the launch broadcast that the download speeds were greater than 100 megabytes per second (MBps).
Falcon 9 lifted off at 8:46 a.m.
On the other hand, Tice also explained that the latency speeds have been low enough to play the fastest online video games, and the download speed is fast enough to stream multiple HD movies at once and still have a surplus on the bandwidth.
Following today's launch, SpaceX made a rare announcement regarding the early testing of the Starlink network.
This would have witnessed the launch of another load of Starlink satellites and the launch of the Saocom satellite. US users based in rural areas or small towns often only have access to download speeds below 5Mbps. The launch provider confirmed that the Starlink team was conducting latency and speed tests of the system and that results were promising. However, the company has plans to launch as many as 40,000 satellites into space to pave the way for fast internet speeds across the globe.
"With these space lasers, the Starlink satellites were able to transfer hundreds of gigabytes of data", she said.
With Thursday's launch, the company has put more than 700 satellites into orbit, more than the 400 needed to provide "initial operational capability", and close to the 800 needed to provide "significant operational capabilities", according to Musk.