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SpaceX postpones Starlink launch to update satellite software – Spaceflight Now



A Falcon 9 rocket stands vertically on pad 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station during the scrubbed launch attempt Wednesday night. For the second consecutive day, SpaceX stopped the attempt of launching Falcon 9 at Cape Canaveral on Thursday night, this time to complete a software update on the first 60 satellite for the Starlink company network to provide high-speed Internet service from orbit.

SpaceX canceled the attempt of the Thursday night launch, scheduled for 10:30 pm EDT (0230 GMT Friday), about three hours before the launch window opening.

In a tweet, the company said it was "standing up to update satellite software and reviewing everything."

Freight is waiting for the launch of the Falcon 9 rocket consisting of 60 satellite flat panels to begin building SpaceX's Starlink network, a fleet of thousands of small spacecraft in the coming years, providing broadband connectivity to buyers all over the world.

SpaceX did not set a new launch date for the mission, the first Falcon 9 launched dedicated to the Starlink project.

"Always wanted to do everything we can on the ground to maximize mission success, next launching time within a week," SpaceX

SpaceX scrubbed a previous countdown Wednesday night because of the outside the upper limit of the air.

The 60 satellite submarine of Falcon 9 was built in a new SpaceX factory in Redmond, Washington. The spacecraft is equipped with high power antennas that are delayed to broadcast Internet signals and krypton ion thrusters for the operation.

Falcon 9 rocket launches satellites, each weighting at about 500 pounds (227 kilograms), in orbit within an hour after liftoff from Cape Canaveral

The 60 satellites are to separate from the upper stage of Falcon 9 in a unique way, according to Elon Musk, founder and CEO of SpaceX.

"This will be a little different deployment than people are used to," Musk told reporters Wednesday in a conference call. "It will be a slow deployment where we rotate the stage, and each of the satellites in the stack has a slightly different amount of circular inertia.

" So it's not really a spring-based or specific deployment mechanism for each satellite, "he said. The satellites are a type of deployment, it's almost like spreading a deck of cards into a table. It's going to be different compared to normal -deploying the satellite. "

Multi-payload dispensers launched over rocket often release satellites in pairs, or one at a time, with physical separation, such as spring or pyrotechnic bolts. [19659003] SpaceX webcast will display the deployment by looking at a camera mounted in the upper stage of the rocket.

"There's really little contact between satellites, but it's very, slowly, and the satellites are designed to handle it," Musk says. "But we want to avoid having 60 different deployment mechanisms for satellites. We expect them to turn on some time after deployment. They start warming up the ion drive and go with a group of health checks. "

The 60 Starlink satellites are based on a new design performed by SpaceX engineers. They are lighter and use different separation methods than the two StarXX StarXX satellite prototypes launched last year. "We should know if they are likely to be about two or three hours after deployment, so three or four hours after launch," he said.

The voyage of Falcon 9 aims to free Starlink satellites at around 273 miles (440 kilometers) above Earth, and their own spacecraft thrusters will increase their orbits at 341 miles (550 kilometers) to start testing demonstrations on technology.

SpaceX is set to launch 60 satellites to begin the expansion of the company's Starlink broadband network, which ultimately seeks to signal Internet signals to consumers worldwide. Credit: SpaceX

"This is one of the toughest engineering projects I've seen when it's done, and it's executed really well," Musk says. "There are many new technologies here, and it is possible that some of the satellites may not work, and in fact a small possibility that all satellites will not work.

" We do not want to count any things up to them are but they are, in my opinion, a great design and we've done everything we can to maximize the probability of success, "he said.

Previous initiatives to create a wide satellite communications network on low Earth orbit, a regime a few hundred miles above Earth, has gained technical and financial headwinds. Traditional satellite communications fly to higher geostationary orbit over at 22,000 miles (nearly 36,000 kilometers) above the equator, with a single spacecraft covering wide geographic regions.

In lower orbit, the Star satellite links bounce signals from user-to-user through a complex web of radio connections through land stations, and ultimately through cross-satellite laser cross-links [19659002] "The purpose of the Starlink system is to provide high bandwidth, low latency connections, approvals, and provide connectivity to people with no connection now, or where it is extremely expensive and incredible -but as well as providing options for people who may have connectivity today in developed areas of the world but it's too expensive, "Musk said. "It will provide competitive options for them."

Starlink is one of many companies working on the constellations of small broadband satellites in low Earth orbit. OneWeb launched the first six satellites in February, with plans to send hundreds more in orbit over the next two years, and Amazon says it plans to build a network of thousands of satellites for on Internet service.

"There are many basic goodies about Starlink," he said. "We just want to make sure the appropriate caveats are there. There are many technologies, it's very hard, and quite frankly, the success of the low-earth orbit of the constellation communication, I think it's gone unsuccessfully lost in the operation no going bankruptcy. "

SpaceX has secured regulatory approval from the Federal Communications Commission for nearly 12,000 Starlink satellites that distribute Ku-band, Ka-band and V-band frequencies, with spacecraft groups positioned at different altitudes in low Earth orbit. But the first focus is the launch of hundreds of satellites to establish a network that covers most of the world's population.

"It is important to distinguish between initial operational capability, which is around 400-satellite level, and then significant operational capability is around the 800-satellite level, and then it is about adding more and more satellites and more orbital planes to satellites as we get more use of the system and we get bandwidth that has been halted, "Musk says. "One does not need anywhere near 10,000 satellites to be effective … We start selling the first satellite launch service of 400 and then ensuring that our production and launch of satellites will remain ahead of user demand. "

After the first Starlink launch, the SpaceX plan between two and six additional Starlink missions later this year to begin building the first phase of the network in orbit 341 miles above Earth, according to Gwynne Shotwell, president and chief operating officer of SpaceX.

"The next batch of satellites is definitely a demonstration set for us to see the deployment of the scheme and start pulling our network together," Shotwell said at an industry conference last week.

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