SpaceX launches Starlink batch; 100Mpbs test success
September 4, 2020
By Chris Forrester
Elon Musk’s goal of getting a debut broadband-by-satellite service up and running this year achieved another milestone on September 3rd when an additional 60 of SpaceX’s Starlink craft were launched from the Kennedy Space Centre.
The launch was the 12th mission for the Starlink fleet overall and the 10th this year and occurred at 08.46 Florida time. There are now about 700 satellites in orbit and another important stage in the creation of Musk’s mega-constellation.
Some 9 minutes after launch SpaceX also successfully brought back the first stage booster of the Falcon 9 rocket onto the floating drone ‘Of Course I Still Love You’.
SpaceX is reportedly planning another two Starlink launches during September, and these will boost the fleet to more than 800 satellites.
Just as interesting as the launch were comments made during the launch webcast from a senior SpaceX engineer, Kate Tice, who said that its ‘friends and family’ beta tests of the broadband speeds have been good.
“They show super low latency and download speeds greater than 100 [megabits] per second. That means our latency is low enough to play the fastest online video games and our download speeds are fast enough to stream multiple HD movies at once,” said Tice.
She admitted that the satellite network is “very much a work in progress,” with SpaceX hoping to further “unlock the full capability” of the Starlink network as it continues to launch more satellites.
SpaceX confirmed earlier this summer that Starlink has already gathered almost 700,000 individuals who want more information in SpaceX’s promised service.
Tice told viewers to its webcast that SpaceX has already tested laser-links between orbiting satellites.
“With these space lasers the Starlink satellites were able to transfer hundreds of gigabytes of data,” Tice added, and that once the lasers were active throughout the orbiting network “Starlink will be one of the fastest options available to transfer data around the world”.