On Sunday morning, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket successfully took to the skies from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida carrying with it another 60 Starlink satellites. The two-stage rocket described by SpaceX as “the first orbital-class rocket capable of reflight’ has been making frequent trips shuttling Starlink satellites into low orbit as SpaceX founder Elon Musk closes in on his goal of providing low-latency, broadband internet to every part of the globe.
“Falcon 9’s first stage has landed on the Of Course I Still Love You droneship, completing the ninth flight of that booster,” SpaceX tweeted, following the success of the deployment. The latest deployment will add to the already mammoth constellation of Starlink satellites that SpaceX has already launched. According to the latest reports, the company has now launched roughly 1,000 satellites and hopes to take this tally up to 40,000. To put that into perspective, that 40,000 figure will, reportedly, be five times the total number of satellites that humans have ever launched into space. SpaceX currently has ownership of about a third of all active satellites in orbit.
Like all of Musk’s ventures, the underlying premise behind Starlink is hugely ambitious in its scope. The Starlink initiative is a ploy to effectively provide internet access across the world through a mega-constellation of satellites in low Earth orbit. While large and small metropolitan areas in the world do already benefit from high-speed connectivity, access to the internet in remote areas remains a huge problem to be solved, particularly as we arrive at an age where the internet is slowly coming to be defined as a public utility.