The U.S. space company, SpaceX, on Friday launched 57 new satellites for its high-speed Internet network, Starlink.
The launch was broadcast live from the site of the company created by Elon Musk.
The launcher, Falcon-9, took off from Cape Canaveral on its fourth mission at 7.12 a.m. Belgian time on Friday after successive postponements for technical and weather-related reasons.
About eight minutes later, the first phase of the rocket landed on a barge baptised ‘Of course I still love you,’ floating on the Atlantic Ocean. Recovering the various components of its rockets enables Space X to reduce launching costs.
About 90 minutes later, the Space X capsule launched the 57 satellites, each weighing about 260 kg, into space for its high-speed Internet network. Two Earth-observation satellites for the BlackSky company were launched half an hour earlier.
This is the 10th launch for Starlink, which will eventually be made up of thousands of satellites. It was also the eighth launch this year for the network, which already has 595 satellites, making the SpaceX the owner of the world’s largest fleet of satellites
It was also the 13th launch of a Falcon-9 this year and the 90th since 2010.
Not everyone, however, is happy at the various space initiatives, whether by Starlink or its competitors. Astronomers fear they could hinder their observations since, as debris accumulates in space, the risk of collisions between spent and operational satellites increases.