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Elon Musk’s SpaceX sends 46 Starlink satellites into orbit

Billionaire Elon Musk’s space venture SpaceX has successfully launched 46 Starlink satellites to low-Earth orbit.

Starlink provides high-speed, low-latency broadband Internet across the globe. It has more than 2,50,000 users globally.

The 46 satellites took off to space on Falcon 9 from Space Launch Complex 4 East (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Space Force Base, California at 6.39 p.m. PT on Sunday (7.09 a.m. Monday IST), the company wrote on its website.

It was the sixth launch and landing for this Falcon 9 first stage. The booster also helped lift the Earth-observation satellite Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich, NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test mission and three Starlink batches, SpaceX said.

The Falcon 9’s upper stage, meanwhile, deployed the 46 Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit 63 minutes after liftoff as planned.

“Deployment of 46 Starlink satellites confirmed,” SpaceX said on Twitter.

The launch was the 29th orbital mission of the year for SpaceX and the 17th dedicated to Starlink.

Earlier this month, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted SpaceX authorisation to use its Starlink satellite internet system on vehicles in motion such as cars, trucks, boats, and aircraft.

Starlink is SpaceX’s ambitious initiative to launch a constellation of thousands of satellites into low- to medium-Earth orbit in order to provide low-latency broadband coverage to the Earth below.

The company has more than 2,400 satellites in orbit so far, and after coming out of beta testing near the end of last year, the company recently boasted that it had 400,000 users.

Customers who want to order Starlink must purchase the kit — which comes with a user terminal — for $599 and then pay a monthly fee of $110.

(With the inputs of agency).

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