SpaceX scores another success with its Falcon 9 rocket fire test. The rocket burned up the nine Merlin engines on its first stage in a short static fire test atop a platform at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. These tests are routine prelaunch checks for SpaceX to be sure the rockets are prepared for flight. Falcon 9 has flown four times before, lifting off two Starlink projects, the Telestar 18 VANTAGE satellite back in 2018, as well as the Iridium-8 mission last year.
Now, the company is ready to accept other challenges. The recent success brings SpaceX closer to a huge milestone. However, on May 17, we’re going to witness the launch of the eighth Starlink mission, which will surely break some new boundaries.
SpaceX’s Upcoming Mission Set Some High Expectations
The next Starlink project will be SpaceX’s eighth since 2019. This time, the number of satellites sent will go up to 482. The Starlink constellation is developed to offer incredible high-speed Internet access to users worldwide.
According to Elon Musk, the CEO SpaceX, at least 400 Starlink satellites would be needed to initiate the Internet service system, with 800 satellites required for medium coverage. That service will be available via a ground-based terminal. The space agency intends to liftoff at least 12,000 Starlink satellites in the main constellation.
SpaceX has been reutilizing much of the Falcon 9 boosters since 2017. It has also designed a reusability system, which represents a foundation of its rocket technology, to reduce the cost of spaceflights.
The Satellites’ Effect Concerns Some Astronomers
The satellites are incredibly bright compared to others. Astronomers have been concerned that with so many radiant satellites in the atmosphere, the chances of one moving in front of a telescope and shadowing an image will grow. SpaceX, however, covered one of its satellites, so that it will be less noticeable in the sky. So far, the method is working, but astronomers are waiting for a complete solution.