Jan 7, 2020

SpaceX launches 60 more Starlink satellites

A screenshot of Monday's SpaceX satellite launch. Photo: SpaceX

SpaceX launched another 60 of its internet-beaming Starlink satellites to orbit from Cape Canaveral Monday night.

Why it matters: Per Axios' Miriam Kramer, the Elon Musk-founded company hopes to one day have a constellation of thousands of satellites in orbit, beaming broadband internet around the globe, particularly to areas without reliable coverage now, and ultimately help fund Musk's bigger plans to establish a city on Mars or base on the Moon.

  • Astronomers have been worried that the influx of new satellites in the coming years could impact dark skies and impede the hunt for asteroids near Earth. But the latest launch by the Falcon 9 rocket marked the first time SpaceX has tested a dark coating in an attempt to allay such concerns.

Go deeper: SpaceX launches 60 internet-beaming Starlink satellites to orbit

Go deeper

How new internet-beaming satellites could change wars

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Huge constellations of satellites expected to launch to orbit in the next few years are an opportunity for defense agencies to expand their communications — and transform the nature of conflict.

Why it matters: National security experts warn that China and other nations are ahead of the U.S. when it comes to beefing up their weaponized capabilities in orbit, potentially putting U.S. assets on Earth and in space in jeopardy.

Go deeperArrowJan 28, 2020

The make-or-break moment for U.S. spaceflight

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

This year Boeing and SpaceX will push to launch astronauts to orbit for NASA after years of delays, in an attempt to end U.S. reliance on Russian rockets for rides to the International Space Station.

Why it matters: Up and coming space powers like India and China are making plays at sending astronauts into space while launching increasingly ambitious missions to the Moon as NASA has been riding on its Cold War-era achievements in human spaceflight.

Go deeperArrowJan 7, 2020 - Science

The earthly limit on satellite ambitions

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios.

SpaceX, Amazon and others have high hopes for launching constellations of satellites that will provide internet to the globe, while some startups hope to nearly continuously beam back images from space.

Yes, but: The industry's growth is limited by the earthly half of the equation: ground infrastructure needed to receive data and control the satellites themselves.

Go deeperArrowJan 14, 2020