SpaceX deploys Starlink satellites but fails to land boosters

SpaceX deployed another group of Falcon 9 satellite on February 15, but during the flight, the rocket’s first stage experienced a rare failure to land. The Falcon 9 departed at 10:59 p.m. Eastern from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, triggered a one-day interruption after adverse weather conditions. Sixty-five minutes after takeoff, the rocket launched its payload of sixty Starlink satellites into the orbit.

Even so, the rocket’s first phase did not land as anticipated on a droneship in the Atlantic Ocean. Around the landing period, footage from the droneship revealed a flash in the distance, indicating a fault with the launcher that either prompted it to go off-course or even to stray from the landing attempt purposely. During the botched landing, SpaceX did not instantly announce what took place. The failure ended a string of 24 successive Falcon 9 flights, either on droneships or on the ground, with successful landings. The new failure occurred in March 2020 and became the second setback in three launches of the Falcon 9. Engine cleaning fluid which was stuck inside and clashed with a sensor triggered the March failure, although inaccurate wind data was criticized for the earlier failure.

The booster completed its sixth flight during this launch. It first flew on a cargo Dragon project in December 2019, and later was utilized in March 2020 for the next cargo Dragon. Consequently, a group of Starlink satellites, together with three Planet SkySats, were deployed in June preceded in August by SAOCOM-1B followed in December by the NROL-108 for the National Reconnaissance Office. However, the primary aim of the project was a success, contributing to the increasing constellation of satellites from Starlink. SpaceX is increasing its beta testing plan. As per a February 3 report with the Federal Communications Commission, it currently has over 10,000 users in the Canada, United States, and the United Kingdom.

However, SpaceX faces renewed resistance from some organizations over the approximately $885.5 million in awards it received in December from FCC Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF). National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative (NRTC) and National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and argued in a recent white paper which SpaceX’s proposals supply satellite broadband Internet access should be closely scrutinized by the FCC. Those organizations argue that both SpaceX, as well as fixed wireless networks, have closed off bids from rural cooperatives for the RDOF support to provide broadband services.

“While it may seem to be feasible to deliver broadband services at the speeds expected by these applicants, this service is still in beta testing as well as commercially viable in extremely limited areas, and there are still questions,” the paper notes. ” It was argued that the award of tenders to experimental as well as unverifiable LEO satellite service is a clear contrast” to the RDOF program rules.

About the author

Chris Andrew

Chris Andrew

Chris is senior mobile editor and moonlights as a professional moment ruiner. His early years were spent taking apart Sega consoles and writing awful fan fiction. That passion for electronics and words would eventually lead him to covering startups of all stripes. The first phone he ever swooned over was the Nokia 7610, because man, those curves.

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