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        SpaceX aborts Starlink satellite launch attempt
        by Paul Brinkmann
        Washington DC (UPI) Oct 01, 2020

        stock image only

        SpaceX aborted the launch of 60 Starlink communications satellites from Florida 18 seconds before liftoff on Thursday morning due to a problem detected by a sensor.

        The company didn't elaborate on the cause of the abort and didn't immediately set a new launch time and date.

        "There's a thousand ways that a launch can go wrong, and only one way it can go right," Siva Baradvaj, space operations engineer for SpaceX, said in a live broadcast for the launch attempt. "Now overall, the vehicle does appear to be in good health, but that will end our launch attempt for today."

        Liftoff of the Falcon 9 rocket had been planned at 9:17 a.m. EDT from Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center. The mission had already been postponed at least twice due to weather and other factors.

        SpaceX had called off an attempt to launch those satellites Monday due to thick clouds in the area. A launch Sept. 17 was scrubbed due to anticipated problems recovering the first-stage booster in the Atlantic Ocean.

        The successful launch of the 60 satellites would boost the Starlink total in orbit to well over 700.

        More Starlink satellites have been launched, but at least 27 of them have deorbited and burned up, according to astronomers.

        While the company increases the number of spacecraft in orbit, it also is testing the system with hundreds of Internet users in North America, according to documents SpaceX has filed with the Federal Communications Commission.

        SpaceX provided Starlink ground terminals to Washington state's emergency management department to use where wildfires have knocked out communications, according to a tweet from the department.

        The service is available only in limited areas of the northern United States and Canada.

        Starlink has "super-low latency and download speeds greater than 100 Mbps," megabits per second, Kate Tice, a senior program reliability engineer at SpaceX, said during a Starlink launch Sept. 3.

        Such speeds are considered sufficient for multiplayer gaming, and SpaceX recently described the speed in a tweet as "fast enough to stream multiple HD movies at once and still have bandwidth to spare."

        Users testing the system have dish-shaped antennas that look like a "UFO on a stick" according to SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk. Initial results of testing are good, Tice said.

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