SpaceX Launches 49 Starlink Internet Satellites

SpaceX’s Starlink internet megaconstellation keeps growing after a two-stage SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket topped with 49 Starlink satellites lifted off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Today’s launch was SpaceX’s 36th dedicated Starlink mission, and it brought the total number of Starlink satellites lofted to more than 2,000. All of those spacecraft have launched since May 2019 except for two prototypes known as TinTin A and TinTin B, which lifted off in February 2018.

Most of the Starlink satellites are alive and well.

“1,469 Starlink satellites active. 272 moving to operational orbits. Laser links activate soon,” SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk said via Twitter on Saturday (Jan. 15).

“Laser links” refers to an upgrade that SpaceX implemented in 2021, which allows Starlink satellites to communicate with each other efficiently without relying on ground relays.

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