SpaceX launches rocket carrying 46 Starlink internet satellites

American company SpaceX on Friday launched Falcon 9 rocket with the next constellation of Starlink microsatellites, according to the live broadcast on the company's website.

The launch from the site at the US Vandenberg Space Force Base in California took place at 14:40 local time (00:40 Moscow time on Saturday). Forty-six microsatellites will be launched into low Earth orbit.

The rocket’s first stage has previously been used in nine launches. SpaceX employees intend to return this Falcon 9 element to Earth. It is expected that after the launch of the stage in the automatic mode smoothly descends on an Of Course I Still Love You (OCISLY) floating platform in the Pacific Ocean. This technology allows the company to reduce the cost of successive launches.

The Starlink network is designed to provide Internet access through the deployment of a large number of satellites weighing 260 kilograms. SpaceX estimates that the launch of a total of 11,000 satellites and putting them into operation will cost $10 billion. The company assures that it will be able to provide broadband Internet access at speeds of 1 gigabit per second, which corresponds to the 5G standard. Since May 2019, SpaceX has put more than 2,500 Starlink satellites into orbit.

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