COVID-19 Impact on Smallsat Market Mitigated by Funding Availability, Government Support

PARIS, WASHINGTON DC, MONTREAL, YOKOHAMA (Euroconsult PR) — The latest update of “Prospects for the Small Satellite Market” was released this week by Euroconsult, forecasting further growth in the global supply and demand of government, commercial and academic satellites weighing up to 500 kg.

The market intelligence report, now in its 7th edition, builds upon Euroconsult’s previous iteration that accurately predicted more than 1,000 satellites would be launched during 2020, a record year despite COVID-19. The new release further reinforces the sentiment that the 2020s will be the decade of small satellites, anticipating the launch of close to 14,000 smallsats before 2030.

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SpaceX Nails 10th Launch of Year, Launches 60 Starlink Satellites

Falcon 9 lifts off with 60 Starlink satellites. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE STATION, Fla. (SpaceX PR) — On Wednesday, April 7 at 12:34 p.m. EDT, SpaceX launched 60 Starlink satellites from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

This was the seventh launch and landing of this Falcon 9 first stage booster, which previously launched NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station, ANASIS-II, CRS-21, Transporter-1, and two Starlink missions.

One half of Falcon 9’s fairing previously supported the AMOS-17 and two Starlink missions, and the other supported one Starlink mission.

Quarterly Launch Report: US in the Lead Thanks to SpaceX

A Falcon 9 lifts off with 60 Starlink satellites on March 11, 2021. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

There were 27 orbital launch attempts with 26 successes and one failure during the first quarter of 2021. The United States accounted for nearly half the total with 13 launches behind nine flights by SpaceX.

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Pressure Vessel From Falcon 9 Recovered in Washington State

Falcon 9 second stage overwrapped pressure vessel recovered on private property in Washington State. (Credit: Grant County Sheriff)

That Falcon 9 second stage that blazed across the sky over Washington and Oregon as it reentered Earth’s atmosphere on March 25 left something behind. The Grant County Sheriff tweeted:

SpaceX recovered a Composite-Overwrapped Pressure Vessel from last week’s Falcon 9 re-entry. It was found on private property in southwest Grant County this week. Media and treasure hunters: we are not disclosing specifics. The property owner simply wants to be left alone.

The 5-foot COPV is part of the second stage propulsion system. Falcon 9’s second stage is usually deorbited after releasing its payload, but the maneuver reportedly failed following the March 4 launch of 60 Starlink broadband satellites.

No injuries nor any additional debris have been reported in the Washington State county or elsewhere in the Northwest.

Growing Number of Satellites Contribute Significant Light Pollution to Night Skies

Trails caused by the fifth deployment of satellites making up the Starlink constellation. (Credit: Andreas Möller)

LONDON (Royal Astronomical Society PR) — Scientists reported new research results today suggesting that artificial objects in orbit around the Earth are brightening night skies on our planet significantly more than previously understood.

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SpaceX Launches 60 More Starlink Satellites

Credit: SpaceX

CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE STATION, Fla. — On Wednesday, March 24 at 4:28 a.m. EDT, SpaceX launched 60 Starlink broadband satellites from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

It was SpaceX’s ninth launch and the 25th launch worldwide of 2021. Seven Falcon 9 boosters have launched 420 Starlink satellites into orbit this year.

SpaceX has now launched 1,385 Starlink satellites, with 1,321 currently in orbit. Elon Musk’s company has received approval from the Federal Communications Commission to launch nearly 12,000 Starlink satellites to provide broadband services worldwide.

This was the sixth launch and landing of this Falcon 9 first stage booster, which previously supported launch of GPS-III Space Vehicle 03, Turksat 5A, and three Starlink missions.

One half of Falcon 9’s fairing supported the Sentinel-6A mission and the other supported a previous Starlink mission.

SpaceX to Launch 60 Starlink Satellites Early Wednesday Morning

A Falcon 9 lifts off with 60 Starlink satellites on March 11, 2021. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE STATION, Fla. (SpaceX PR) — SpaceX is targeting Wednesday, March 24 for launch of 60 Starlink satellites from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The instantaneous window is at 4:28 a.m. EDT, or 8:28 UTC, and a backup opportunity is available on Thursday, March 25 at 4:06 a.m. EDT, or 8:06 UTC.

The Falcon 9 first stage rocket booster supporting this mission previously supported launch of the GPS-III Space Vehicle 03 and Turksat 5A missions in addition to three Starlink missions. Following stage separation, SpaceX will land Falcon 9’s first stage on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship, which will be located in the Atlantic Ocean. One half of Falcon 9’s fairing supported the Sentinel-6A mission and the other supported a previous Starlink mission.

You can watch the launch webcast live starting about 15 minutes before liftoff. To see if Starlink is available in your area, visit starlink.com.

NASA, SpaceX Sign Joint Spaceflight Safety Agreement

An illustration showing some of the many NASA satellites in Earth orbit (Credits: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA and SpaceX have signed a joint agreement to formalize both parties’ strong interest in the sharing of information to maintain and improve space safety. This agreement enables a deeper level of coordination, cooperation, and data sharing, and defines the arrangement, responsibilities, and procedures for flight safety coordination.

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SpaceX to Launch 60 Starlink Satellites on Sunday; Falcon 9 First Stage to Launch for Record 9th Time

Credit: SpaceX

First stage to fly for record 9th time

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (SpaceX PR) — SpaceX is targeting Sunday, March 14 for launch of 60 Starlink satellites from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The instantaneous window is at 6:01 a.m. EDT, or 10:01 UTC.

This mission represents the first time SpaceX will be reusing a Falcon 9 first stage for the ninth time.  The Falcon 9 first stage supporting this mission previously supported launch of Crew Dragon’s first demonstration mission, RADARSAT Constellation Mission, SXM-7, and five Starlink missions. Following stage separation, SpaceX will attempt to land Falcon 9’s first stage on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship, which will be located in the Atlantic Ocean. Falcon 9’s fairing previously flew on the Transporter-1 mission.

You can watch the launch webcast live starting about 15 minutes before liftoff. 

This week, the Starlink team launched service in Germany and New Zealand for the first time, and expanded its existing service in the UK. To see if Starlink is available in your area, visit starlink.com.

SpaceX Launches 60 Starlink Satellites, Expand Services to UK, Germany and New Zealand

A Falcon 9 lifts off with 60 Starlink satellites on March 11, 2021. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

A Falcon 9 lit up the early morning Florida sky on Thursday, delivering an additional 60 Starlink satellites into orbit as SpaceX continues to build out its global broadband network.

Liftoff took place at 3:13 a.m. EST from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The 60 Starlink broadband Internet satellites were successfully deployed into orbit.

SpaceX has launched 1,265 Starlink satellites, with 1,201 still in orbit. That means the company has launched about 10 percent of its global broadband constellation, which will total nearly 12,000 satellites.

It was the sixth launch and landing of the Falcon 9 first stage, which previously supported launch of NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station last May. The booster also supported the launches of ANASIS-II, CRS-21, Transporter-1, and a Starlink mission.

SpaceX also announced that it was extending its Starlink service to parts of western Germany and New Zealand’s South Island. The company is also expanding coverage beyond southern England to include Wales, Scotland Northern Ireland and parts of northern England.

SpaceX’s next launch is scheduled for Sunday, March 14 at 5:44 a.m. (0944 GMT). A Falcon 9 will lift off with 60 Starlink satellites from Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

SpaceX Applies to Install Starlink Receivers in Vehicles, Boats and Planes; Next Launch is Thursday Morning

Credit: SpaceX

UPI reports that SpaceX has applied to provide Starlink satellite services to mobile vehicles:

SpaceX attorneys filed an application on Friday with the Federal Communications Commission seeking “a blanket license” authorizing customer reception of the signal in vehicles, boats and planes.

Musk said Monday on Twitter, however, that the Starlink terminal is too big for most passenger cars.

“This is for aircraft, ships, large trucks & RVs,” Musk wrote.

Starlink home and office terminals are small dishes that rotate to acquire and keep a signal, and they must be installed outside with a clear view of the sky.

“SpaceX Services will ensure installation of … terminals on vehicles and vessels by qualified installers who have an understanding of the antenna’s radiation environment and the measures best suited to maximize protection of the general public and persons operating the vehicle and equipment,” the application says.

Meanwhile, the company plans to launch another 60 Starlink satellites on Thursday at 3:13 a.m. EST from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The launch was scrubbed on Tuesday to allow for more checks on the vehicle.

The Starlink network will be composed of nearly 12,000 satellites designed to provide broadband services around the world. SpaceX has already launched more than 1,000 Starlink satellites into orbit.

SpaceX Starlink Launch Set for Tuesday Night

Credit: SpaceX

CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE STATION, Fla. (SpaceX PR) — SpaceX is targeting Tuesday, March 9 for launch of 60 Starlink satellites from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The instantaneous window is at 9:58 p.m. EST, or 2:58 UTC on March 10.

The Falcon 9 first stage rocket booster supporting this mission previously supported launch of NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station, ANASIS-II, CRS-21, Transporter-1, and a Starlink mission. Following stage separation, SpaceX will land Falcon 9’s first stage on the “Just Read the Instructions” droneship, which will be located in the Atlantic Ocean. One half of Falcon 9’s fairing previously flew on the ANASIS-II and SXM-7 missions, and the other half previously supported launch of Sentinel-6A.

You can watch the launch webcast live starting about 15 minutes before liftoff. 

This week, the Starlink team is excited to launch service in Germany and New Zealand for the first time, and expand its existing service in the UK.  Learn more about our international coverage on our webcast, or visit starlink.com to see if Starlink is available in your area. 

SpaceX Launches 60 Starlink Satellites into Orbit

Credit: SpaceX

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (SpaceX PR) — On Thursday, March 4 at 3:24 a.m. EST, SpaceX launched 60 Starlink satellites from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This was the eighth launch of this Falcon 9 booster, which previously supported Iridium-8, Telstar 18 VANTAGE, and five Starlink missions.

Unbounded by traditional ground infrastructure, Starlink can deliver high-speed broadband internet to locations where access has been unreliable or completely unavailable. At a time when more people are working from home and more students are participating in virtual learning, internet connectivity is more important than ever. With Starlink, we’re able to deploy quickly to areas that need it most.

In December, the Wise County Public School District in rural Virginia, where approximately 40% of teachers and students do not have internet access at home, announced it would provide some families in the area with Starlink to support remote learning. Starlink units were deployed in January and over 40 homes are now connected with high-speed internet.

If you’re interested in service, we recently started taking orders on a first-come, first-served basis. To reserve your spot in line, head over to starlink.com for more information.

Musk Plans Starlink Manufacturing Plant in Austin, “Starbase” City at Boca Chica

Planet SkySat deployed during SpaceX’s ninth Starlink mission using Exolaunch’s CarboNix deployer. (Credit: SpaceX website)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Elon Musk’s SpaceX plans to build a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant to produce dishes, Wi-Fi routers and related devices for the Starlink satellite broadband network in Austin, Texas, and establish the “city of Starbase” at Boca Chica, Texas.

“Specifically, they will design and develop control systems and software for production line machinery – ultimately tackling the toughest mechanical, software, and electrical challenges that come with high volume manufacturing, all while maintaining a focus on flexibility, reliability, maintainability, and ease of use,” said a job posting for the position of automation and controls engineer.

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SpaceX to Launch 60 Starlink Satellites on Sunday

Falcon 9 launches 60 Starlink satellites. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (SpaceX PR) — SpaceX is targeting Sunday, February 28 for launch of 60 Starlink satellites from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The instantaneous window is at 8:37 p.m. EST, or 1:37 UTC on March 1.

You can watch a live webcast of this mission, which will begin about 15 minutes prior to liftoff, by clicking here.

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