SpaceX preps Starlink batch
September 1, 2020
By Chris Forrester
SpaceX scrubbed a planned launch of a Falcon 9 rocket on Aug 30th because of weather anxieties. It is rescheduled for today, September 1st.
The SpaceX rocket will carry 60 Starlink broadband satellites from Launch Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.
Launch time is scheduled for 09.29 am Florida time (13.29 GMT). It will be the 12th launch for the Starlink project.
The launch will take the Starlink orbital fleet to more than 700 craft (653 plus this latest 60) although some have failed in orbit.
However, there has been some criticism of Starlink’s performance in orbit as far as actual data traffic is concerned. Currently Starlink is limited to a ‘friends and family’ beta-test offering to SpaceX staff. There are only a few reported ‘speedtest’ users (by Ookla) and they show a variety of download speeds between 35 Mb/s and 60 Mb/s, upload speeds between 5 Mb/s and 18 Mb/s, and latency between 31 and 94 Mb/s.
The mere fact that the range is so wide indicates that the fleet’s size is not perfect. Set against that grumble is the fact that a US Alaskan user more used to 1 Mb/s – 3Mb/s might be jumping with joy for the sort of service being achieved. More relevant perhaps is how transmissions might be affected by rain-fade and problems like snow.