JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The launch was postponed, due to staffing at the Kennedy Space Center issues related to the Coronavirus outbreak. SpaceX has set the new launch window on Thursday at 3:16pm for Starlink-7.
This launch from the SpaceX program will be the seventh Starlink launch of their series designed to deploy satellites that will support a new, globally accessible broadband internet.
According to SpaceX they are leveraging their experience in building rockets and spacecraft to deploy the world’s most advanced broadband internet system. With performance that far surpasses that of traditional satellite internet and a global network unbounded by ground infrastructure limitations, Starlink will deliver high speed broadband internet to locations where access has been unreliable, expensive, or completely unavailable.
The Starlink satellites will deploy in an elliptical orbit approximately 15 minutes after liftoff. Prior to orbit raise, SpaceX engineers will conduct data reviews to ensure all Starlink satellites are operating as intended. Once the checkouts are complete, the satellites will then use their onboard ion thrusters to move into their intended orbits and operational altitude of 550 km.
Each Starlink satellite weights approximately 260 kg and features a compact, flat-panel design that minimizes volume, allowing for a dense launch stack to take full advantage of Falcon 9’s launch capabilities. With four powerful phased array and two parabolic antennas on each satellite, an enormous amount of throughput can be placed and redirected in a short time, for an order of magnitude lower cost than traditional satellite-based internet.
The sixth launch of the Starlink mission blasted into orbit on March 18th, below is a video of that launch:
Starlink satellites will not become more “space junk.” At end of their life cycle, the satellites will utilize their on-board propulsion system to deorbit over the course of a few months. In the unlikely event their propulsion system becomes inoperable, the satellites will burn up in Earth’s atmosphere within 1-5 years, significantly less than the hundreds or thousands of years required at higher altitudes. Further, Starlink components are designed for full demisability.