Innovation

Musk Reads: SpaceX Starlink set to connect students

SpaceX hails its 100th successful launch and Starship spotted with a NASA logo. Why have there been so many delays?

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SpaceX hails its 100th successful launch and Starship spotted with a NASA logo. Why have there been so many delays? It’s Musk Reads: SpaceX Edition #213.

A version of this article appeared in the “Musk Reads” newsletter. Sign up for free here.

Musk quote of the week

“Critical to humanity’s future.”

SpaceX

Liftoff! SpaceX successfully launched 60 Starlink satellites from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, the 15th batch in total. The firm has hailed the launch as its 100th successful Falcon flight – its 105th Falcon launch total with the inclusion of five failed launches. Of those 100, SpaceX has landed a booster 63 times and re-flown a booster 45 times. The company claims the Falcon 9 has become the most-flown operational rocket in the United States. Following the successful launch, SpaceX shared an impressive compilation video of 100 flights on YouTube.

Starlink had a good week even beyond the launch. The internet connectivity constellation is expected to bring high speed, low latency internet by using a large number of satellites, starting with an ongoing beta test in the northern United States. Last week, the Ector County Independent School District in Odessa, Texas, became the first school district to agree to use Starlink. The initiative will see 45 families receive free internet access early in 2021, expanding to 90 families over time. This will help some of the 39 percent of local families who have limited to no internet access.

Last week, Microsoft also announced plans to use Starlink with its Azure Space cloud computing initiative, which means groups can deploy its storage container datacenter in “challenging environments” and get online. This will help even the most remote groups access high speed internet. Read more.

What’s next for SpaceX: SpaceX is expected to launch the NROL–108 mission for the United States’ National Reconnaissance Office later this month. The launch will take place at Launch Complex 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

SpaceX Starship

Is SpaceX about to unveil its lunar model of the Starship? A new image this week shows a component emblazoned with the NASA “worm” logo at the company’s Boca Chica facility. SpaceX was chosen in April as one of three companies to develop a lunar lander for NASA’s Artemis project, kickstarting a 10-month process. The photo is one of the first real-life sightings of how this project could look in practice. Read more.

SpaceX also fired the triple-engine Starship “SN8” prototype last week in an impressive display ahead of its planned hop test. Read more.

Musk Reads mailroom

Kim Kaiser writes:

Why so many [cancellations] this summer. With little/no information. Is it weather, ground support, Falcon 9 or payload issues?

Weather has played a big role, but there’s a variety of factors at play. We’ve seen rough weather, choppy seas, and poor conditions in the flight path. We’ve also seen issues with upper-stage cameras.

One thing to bear in mind is that SpaceX has launched more used rockets this year than any other year. SpaceXStats tracked 17 used Falcon 9 launches, beating out 2018’s 11 launches. SpaceX delayed the ANASIS-II and the 10th Starlink mission to allow more time for checkouts. Perhaps that explains why Musk has called for more improvements to reach 48 launches next year.

Jim Palashoff writes:

Is anybody working on a story, book, or movie of Starman? Maybe Elon should have a contest with a great prize for the best first contact with Starman. Just a thought. I know I have a couple of ideas and I am not a writer, just a science fiction/fact fan.

I know of at least one. Check out The Adventures of Starman, a fun graphic novel created by Eli Burton. The three-part series sees Starman jetting off in the red Roadster, taking on Big Oil, and more.

Got any ideas for the sort of adventures you’d like to see Starman take on? Send them to the usual address below!

Got any comments or queries? Don’t forget to send them over to muskreads@inverse.com.

Photo of the week

SpaceX’s lunar Starship emerges. Read more.

Got any photos or videos you’d like to share? Feel free to send them over to muskreads@inverse.com.

The ultra-fine print

This has been Musk Reads: SpaceX Edition #213, the weekly rundown of essential reading about futurist and entrepreneur Elon Musk. I’m Mike Brown, an innovation journalist for Inverse.

What did you think of today’s stories? Hit reply to this email to let us know. Thanks for reading!

A version of this article appeared in the “Musk Reads” newsletter. Sign up for free here.

Update 11/9 12:45 p.m. Eastern time: An earlier version of this story claimed that Starlink beta services had already started in Canada. It has now been updated to reflect the fact that the beta service is targeting Canada, but is not yet available in Canada.

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