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SpaceX aborts launch, but adds Philippines, Kenya

July 20, 2023

By Chris Forrester

SpaceX aborted a launch of 15 of its Starlink satellites, scheduled to lift-off from its Vandenberg Space Force facility in California in the early hours of July 19th. The launch was scrubbed with just 5 seconds remaining on the countdown clock.

This unusual decision was the second ‘abort’ in a week for SpaceX. Conditions on California’s West Coast were extremely foggy (and at 1.25am local time).

“There are thousands of ways a launch can go wrong and only one way that it can go right,” SpaceX’s Zach Luppen said during the webcast of the planned launch. “Given that, we are overly cautious on the ground. And if the team or the vehicle sees anything that just looks even slightly off, they’ll stop the countdown.”

Launch has been rescheduled for late-night July 20th at 2.15 am (California-time).

On a more positive note SpaceX announced that it had added a few interesting markets where its equipment for consumers is now available: the Philippines and Kenya in East Africa. It has also added the ‘Costa’ fleet of cruise ships. Starlink connections are available now for passengers and crew on the Costa Toscana, with Costa Cruises planning to roll out the enhanced Wi-Fi across the rest of its fleet by December.

The Costa fleet tends to sail in the Western Mediterranean Sea.

But the Costa vessels are not alone. In July to date, Scenic Luxury Cruises and Tours and Emerald Cruises, AIDA Cruises and Atlas Ocean Voyages are among the operators to have announced plans involving SpaceX Starlink Wi-Fi. These additional vessels mean that SpaceX is now serving some 300 cruise ships and tens of thousands of passengers and crew.

Giuseppe Carino, VP guest experience & onboard revenues, Costa Cruises, said: “Thanks to the revolutionary capabilities of Starlink low orbit satellites, our ships will have access to high-speed, reliable internet connectivity like never before. ‘Our goal is to transform the way our ships operate, delivering an even better experience to our guests and crew, through a combination of different technologies, services and broadband connections.”

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