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SpaceX is set to launch 60 of its internet satellites on Thursday evening from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
This is the first full launch of “Starlink” satellites. The 60 satellites represent the first launch of dozens more, as SpaceX plans to launch thousands of the Starlink satellites to create an interconnected network to beam high speed internet to consumers anywhere in the world.
SpaceX sees Starlink as a key source of funding as the company works toward its goal of flying humans to and from Mars. CEO Elon Musk said in a call with reporters last week that this “is the heaviest payload Falcon 9 has ever launched, or Falcon Heavy, for that matter.”
Shortly after liftoff, the lower “booster” stage of the rocket will separate and flip, returning to Earth. The booster stage will then attempt to land on the company’s autonomous barge position in the Atlantic Ocean.
SpaceX will show the 60 satellites deploying on the company’s webcast. The process will be very slow, as Musk said there isn’t “a specific deployment mechanism per satellite.”
The mission was previously scheduled to launch a week ago but SpaceX postponed it. The company said in a tweet that the delay was “to update satellite software and triple-check everything again.”
“Always want to do everything we can on the ground to maximize mission success,” SpaceX said.
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