Elon Musk Launches 60 More Satellites In Race To Create ‘Space Internet’ Despite Coronavirus Crisis

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The Tesla CEO said he would free up factories to make more ventilators if coronavirus results in a shortage.

He tweeted: “Tesla makes cars with sophisticated hvac systems. SpaceX makes spacecraft with life support systems.

“Ventilators are not difficult, but cannot be produced instantly. Which hospitals have these shortages you speak of right now?”

Right now though, the billionaire appears to be focusing on continuing to build his super-fast broadband satellite network.

Space junk threatens to clog up Earth’s orbit (artist’s impression)
Space junk threatens to clog up Earth’s orbit (artist’s impression)

Last October, it was revealed that SpaceX wants to add 30,000 Starlink broadband satellites to the 12,000 it already plans to put into orbit.

Some critics are concerned that this could lead to a space junk problem that could trap humanity on Earth.

Starlink is a project that intends to put over 12,000 satellites into the Earth’s orbit so they can provide cheap WiFi to the entire world.

The recent request for permission could take seven years to get clearances before the specified satellites are launched.

SpaceX wouldn’t have to launch all 30,000 satellites but filing for them now could stop other satellite operators going after the same slots.

The first 60 Starlink satellites were put into orbit in May and have already received criticism for being spotted in the night sky looking very bright and visible.

The latest batch of satellites lifted off yesterday on a Falcon 9 rocket.

It launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in the US.

This was the second time SpaceX re-flew a full payload fairing.

A payload fairing is essentially a cone used to protect the top of a spacecraft, which breaks in half and comes back to Earth.

However, the landing of the Falcon 9’s first stage in the Atlantic Ocean on SpaceX’s drone ship was not successful.

Despite this the mission was still a success.

Musk tweeted: “There was also an early engine shutdown on ascent, but it didn’t affect orbit insertion.

“Shows value of having 9 engines! Thorough investigation needed before next mission.”

Musk is fortunate that his space plans haven’t yet faced any delays.

Just last week Europe and Russia’s joint Mars rover mission had to be postponed, partially due to the impact of coronavirus.

What is Starlink?

Here’s what you need to know about Elon Musk’s satellites…

  • Starlink is a satellite project led by billionaire SpaceX CEO Elon Musk
  • Musk intends to put 12,000 satellites into the Earth’s orbit so they can provide cheap WiFi to the whole world
  • SpaceX also intends to sell satellites for military, scientific and exploratory purposes
  • 60 of the Starlink satellites have been sent up to Space so far
  • The satellites are being launched on top of unmanned Falcon 9 rockets
  • How they will affect the night sky is causing concern as they look brighter than expected
  • It will take at least 12 trips to take all of the satellites into Space and they will be staggered at different heights above the Earth

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