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Starlink

While a large portion of the world takes the internet for granted, there are significant areas, countries, and people that have limited or no access to this basic need.

Enter Starlink, SpaceX's in-house, space-based internet constellation of at least 12,000 satellites that will bring broadband internet service to underserved regions on Earth and provide competitively-priced internet services to urban areas.

Starlink will enable the spread of low-cost internet access across the globe... no matter where you are. No matter who you are. No matter where you go.

To achieve this goal, SpaceX will launch between 12,000 and 42,000 Starlink satellites into Low Earth Orbit.

The first Starlink deployments will build the 550 km orbital shell -- needed for initial service in North America and Europe.

After that, the company will build two additional orbital shells at 340 km and 1,200 km to enable global coverage of the network.

Revenue from Starlink will largely fund SpaceX's Mars colonization plans.

On this

rocket

Falcon 9 (Block 5)

Rockets used to cost a lot more than they do now.

And the Falcon 9 is almost single-handedly responsible for that dramatic drop in launch prices over the last several years.

A brand new Falcon 9 costs about $62 million. A "flight-proven" -- or re-flown -- Falcon 9 comes in at a price tag of as low as $50.3 million per contracts that have been made public.

The Falcon 9 has greatly reduced launch costs because of its innovative and low-cost production process and by reusing the first stage booster and the rocket's payload fairings.

Each complete fairing costs about $6 million. Recovering the fairings and reusing them saves upwards of $5 million for each re-flight.

Likewise, the Falcon 9 rocket's first stage, the booster, is built to fly itself back to the launch site or land itself autonomously on a drone ship in the middle of the ocean for recovery and reuse.

SpaceX hopes the base price of a flight-proven Falcon 9 can drop into the $30 million range -- significantly cheaper than any competitor on the market.

This competition has forced other launch providers to significantly lower their overal launch costs where possible and design new, low cost rockets when lowering the price of existing rockets is not possible.

Overall, Falcon 9 can take the following payloads to the following orbits:

Payload Capability
Low Earth Orbit (max): 22,800 kg / 50,265 lb
Geostationary Orbit (max): 8,300 kg / 18,300 lb
Mars (max): 4,020 kg / 8,860 lb

During launch, the Falcon 9 uses its two stages to place its payloads into orbit. The stats for each stage are:

First Stage
Engines: 9 x Merlin 1D+
Thrust: 1,710,000 lbf (sealevel) / 1,849,500 lbf (vacuum)
Burn time (max): 162 seconds
Propellant: Densified Liquid Oxygen / RP-1 kerosene

Second Stage
Engines: 1 x Merlin Vac
Thrust: 210,000 lbf
Burn Time (max): 397 seconds
Propellant: Densified Liquid Oxygen / RP-1 kerosene

From this

launch site

LC-39A - Kennedy Space Center, Florida
2020-10-06

NASA's historic Kennedy Space Center is located on Cape Canaveral, Florida, and has hosted decades of historic space missions since the early days of the Apollo program.

Today, Kennedy Space Center is a multi-user spaceport and hosts private companies like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, SpaceX, and others.

SpaceX leases Launch Complex 39A at NASA's flagship facility and uses the pad to launch its Falcon Heavy and Falcon 9 rockets. The pad is also used to launch missions for the Commercial Crew Program in which SpaceX will launch astronauts to the Space Station for NASA aboard their Crew Dragon capsule.

Launch Complex 39A was previously used by NASA to launch the Apollo 11 mission to land the first humans on the moon and Space Shuttle missions to assemble the International Space Station and upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope.

Image: SpaceX

Booster

lands here

Just Read The Instructions
2020-10-06

The Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship "Just Read The Instructions" is one of two Atlantic Ocean recovery ships for SpaceX's Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets. It was first used exclusively in the Pacific Ocean before being brought through the Panama Canal to Louisiana and then Port Canaveral for refits and upgrades. Its first Atlantic Ocean mission supported the 8th Starlink launch in June 2020.

Here's where to view Starlink (Flight 13)

Viewing Sites
  • Alan Shepard Park
  • A. Max Brewer Parkway Bridge
  • Saturn V Building / Banana Creek
  • Cherie Down Park
  • Cocoa Beach Pier
  • Exploration Tower
  • Jetty Park
  • Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
  • Lori Wilson Park
  • Playalinda Beach
  • Rotary Riverfront Park
  • Sand Point Park
  • Sidney Fischer Park
  • Space View Park

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