Musk changes launch targets for Starlink

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Elon Musk’s SpaceX is scheduled to launch 52 of its Starlink craft into circular orbits today (December 17th). This is an unusual move from Musk’s team but is designed to fill gaps in the constellation’s existing coverage.

The launch will take place from SpaceX’s facility at the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California (at 09.26 am UTC).

Specialist observer T S Kelso at CelesTrak says that the satellites will be deployed 15 minutes later at 10.01 UTC.

The circular orbits will be about 550 kms (340 miles) altitude once the satellites have raised themselves after launch. The satellites have been described as Versions 1.5.

Separately, Musk has been speaking about his plans for the massive Starship and – according to an interview with Time magazine – says that he would be surprised “if we’re not landing on Mars within 5 years”.


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