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[Slashdot] - SpaceX Launches 60 More Starlink Satellites and Achieves a Reusability Record For a Falcon 9 Booster

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SpaceX launched its second Falcon 9 rocket in the span of just four days on Wednesday at 9:25 PM EDT (6:25 PM PDT). This one was carrying 60 more satellites for its Starlink constellation, which will bring the total currently in operation on orbit to 480. From a report: The launch took off from Florida, where SpaceX's first astronaut launch took place on Saturday for the final demonstration mission of its Crew Dragon to fulfill the requirements of NASA's Commercial Crew human-rating process. Today's launch didn't include any human passengers, but it did fly that next big batch of Starlink broadband internet satellites, as mentioned. Those will join the other Starlink satellites in low Earth orbit, forming part of a network that will eventually serve to provide high-bandwidth, reliable internet connectivity, particularly in underserved areas where terrestrial networks either aren't present or don't offer high-speed connections. This launch included a test of a new system that SpaceX designed in order to hopefully improve an issue its satellites have had with nighttime visibility from Earth. The test Starlink satellite, one of the 60, has a visor system installed that it can deploy post-launch in order to block the sun from reflecting off its communication antenna surfaces. If it works as designed, it should greatly reduce sunlight reflected off the satellite back to Earth, and SpaceX will then look to make it a standard part of its Starlink satellite design going forward.

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