News Satellite

SpaceX test-fires rocket ahead of launch of third batch of Starlink satellites

With the 60 satellites set for launch, SpaceX will have delivered 180 signal relay stations to orbit for the company’s Starlink Internet network.

SpaceX test-fired a Falcon 9 rocket on Saturday at Cape Canaveral, two days before a scheduled launch with 60 Starlink broadband relay stations.

The launch is scheduled to take place at 6:19 am on Tuesday local time (9:19 pm EST on Monday). It will use a Falcon 9 rocket that has been launched and recovered on three previous missions.

It will take about an hour for the Falcon 9 rocket to deliver the third batch of Starlink satellites to orbit a couple of hundred miles above Earth.

The latest launch will kick off a brisk pace of launches by SpaceX planned for 2020.

SpaceX wants to create a mesh-like network around the Earth using its Starlink satellites rather than relying on a smaller number of higher-power satellites like traditional geostationary satellite operators.

The company has regulatory approval from the FCC to field a fleet of up to 12,000 small Starlink broadband stations and has hinted in additional regulatory filings that it could seek to operate up to 42,000 Starlink spacecraft.