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What do Windows 10 and SpaceX's Starlink launch have in common? One needs updating and might explode without warning. The other is an operating system.
Space fans waiting for Elon Musk's mighty missile to lob its heaviest ever payload into orbit were disappointed for a second day running last night as the company stood down the Falcon 9, citing a need to update the satellite software and "triple-check everything again".
Launch - Hours - Winds - Company - Rocket
The launch had been scrubbed 24 hours previously because of excessive upper-level winds. The company recycled the rocket for last night, but opted to stand down. It is, after all, always handy to make sure your software is up to date. Just ask the unfortunates still using Windows XP.
When they do finally launch – hopefully next week – the 60 Starlink satellites will start their deployment at an altitude of 440km and use onboard Hall thrusters, powered by krypton, to make their way to an operational altitude of 550km and adjust position when needed. The Hall thrusters will also be able to de-orbit the satellites, with 95 per cent of the components of each 227kg bird burning up on re-entry.
Satellites - Startracker - Navigation - System - Collision
The satellites are also equipped with a Startracker navigation system and can autonomously avoid collision, so making sure the software is working correctly makes a lot of sense, as Tesla drivers will attest.
Once in orbit, Musk boasted that the power generated by the satellites will generate more power than the arrays of the International Space Station (ISS) and the 60 will deliver 1 terabit of bandwidth to lucky Earth-dwellers.
Launches - Coverage
He went on to tweet that another six launches of 60 would be enough for initial coverage, with 12...
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