SpaceX launches Spanish satellite from California


SpaceX on February 22 launched a Falcon 9 rocket carrying a Spanish-owned radar-imaging satellite and two demonstration satellites for SpaceX's proposed broadband Starlink broadband constellation.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk today tweeted an eight-second video of the company's first broadband satellites, saying they are now "deployed and communicating to Earth stations".

SpaceX on Thursday launched a rocket carrying two experimental satellites from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The Spanish Aerospace Technology Institute developed the satellite's ground segment with Madrid-based company Indra. But Musk and SpaceX have bigger plans yet.

Secondary test satellites for a proposed space-based internet system were to be released later.

SpaceX didn't attempt to recover Falcon 9's first stage after Thursday's launch, because it "was an older version booster". SpaceX ultimately intends to put about 12,000 broadband satellites in low Earth orbit, and Sunday's payload will mark the company's first attempt at realizing the dream. "Should be able catch it with slightly bigger chutes to slow down descent".

"The analogy I use with my team is, 'guys imagine we had six million dollars on a pallet of cash, '" Musk said at the ISS Research and Design conference in Washington DC back in July 2017.

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As it later became known from the social network, both parts of the fairing landed, but separately from each other.

The pair of satellites, called Tintin A & B, can be seen floating away from the craft as they leave and head into space.

Meanwhile, the two micro satellites will orbit between 600 and 800 miles above Earth - aiming to blanket the world in high-speed internet. The rocket was one of SpaceX's older models and had already flown once, but the company is now only recovering the last generation of its rockets, the Falcon 9 "Full Thrust" v1.2. SpaceX attempted to get the rocket's fairing, or nose cone, to land on its drone ship.

In the end, Mr. Steven's fairing-catching efforts did not prove successful.

The net strapped between the boat's claws is quite robust-large and strong enough to theoretically comfortably capture a fairing that's 43 feet tall and 17 feet wide and weighs upwards of 2,200 pounds. The value of these fairings is about $6 million, recovering and reusing them would save costs.