SpaceX has launched 57 more satellites on Friday as part of the build-up of the Starlink constellation, which will form a globe spanning network of low Earth-orbit satellites.
SpaceX has launched 57 more satellites on Friday as part of the build-up of the Starlink constellation, which will form a globe spanning network of low Earth-orbit satellites. Image Credit: Screengrab

SpaceX has launched 57 more satellites to beef up the Starlink constellation on Friday.

The satellites, which will form part of a constellation of thousands of a globespanning network of low-earth orbit satellites designed to act as orbiting cell sites. , along with two BlackSky Global Earth-observation satellites

Starlink is a satellite constellation being put together by SpaceX to provide satellite Internet access. The constellation will consist of thousands of mass-produced small satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO), working in combination with ground transceivers.

Before the August 7 launch, the last blastoff was on June 13, 2020, but SpaceX plans to pump up the pace of launches.

Along with the 57, two BlackSky satellites were also deployed. They deployments in space were confirmed shortly after the launch on Friday. 

Starlink illustration
An illustration of Starlink, a fleet or constellation of internet-providing satellites designed by SpaceX. This image shows the shortest path in the network between London and Johannesburg. Image Credit: Mark Handley/University College London

Earth-imaging satellites

In addition to the Starlink internet satellites, two small Earth-imaging satellites were also launched into orbit on Friday (August 7, 2020). It was the second of what's expected to be a series of Starlink "rideshare" missions.

The sattelites were launched on a two-stage Falcon 9 rocket, which lifted off at 1:12 a.m. EDT (0512 GMT) from Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

It was the fifth launch for the Falcon 9's first-stage reusable rocket. And the booster pulled off yet another landing this, settling softly onto the deck of SpaceX's drone ship, known as "Of Course I Still Love You", located in the Atlantic Ocean about eight minutes after liftoff.

Musk, Bezos and Branson
THE RACE IS ON: There space race is on between the world’s leading billionaires, with a coterie of name-plate companies backing them. It’s Elon Musk vs Jeff Bezos vs Richard Branson. Image Credit: File

The launch was the company's 12th overall mission for 2020. SpaceX has been relying on its fleet of used, flight-proven boosters to sustain a rapid pace of launches.

The company has had a successful summer, with the launch and landing of two NASA astronauts on the Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station — a first for a private company — and isn’t slowing down anytime soon.