SpaceX delayed the launch of Falcon 9, with three satellites on board, for several days. Finally, on February 22nd the rocket was successfully launched and put the Spanish PAZ satellite as well as two SpaceX microsatellites into orbit.
The fairing and the first stage separated successfully. This time the company decided not to land the first stage on the ground. Instead they tried to calculate the location that the fairing would fall with the help of GPS and catch it in a huge net installed on a boat.
The fairing protects the payload of the rocket so it is made from very durable and light materials. As a result they are expensive. SpaceX failed to catch the $6 million fairing. But the fairing did not collapse during the descent thanks to the strength of the alloy.
The Spanish satellite will take pictures of the Earth’s surface with a resolution of up to 25 centimeters. The two SpaceX satellites will provide a global internet in the future, along with many thousands of the same devices which will work together.
Elon Musk first announced the idea of a satellite based global Internet in 2015. The project, called Starlink, will provide cheap broadband internet practically anywhere on Earth. The SpaceX telecommunications network will unite 12,000 satellites, some of which will be placed in a geostationary orbit at an altitude of about 36,000 kilometers to ensure maximum coverage. Additional satellites in low orbits, from 335 to 346 kilometers, will provide a higher quality signal. The reliability of the network will provide a peer-to-peer operating principle: each element will combine the management functions and the network member.
The creation of a global satellite based internet should attract additional funding that will allow SpaceX to implement plans for the colonization of Mars.