SpaceX launches 52 Starlink Internet satellites from California base
A SpaceX rocket carried 52 Starlink internet satellites into orbit from California early Saturday. The two-stage Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from coastal Vandenberg Space Force Base at 4:41 am and arced over the Pacific. The Falcon's first stage returned and landed on a SpaceX droneship in the ocean. It was the 11th launch and recovery of the stage.
The second stage continued into orbit and deployment of the satellites was confirmed, said launch commentator Youmei Zhou at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California.
Starlink is a satellite-based global internet system that SpaceX has been building for years to bring internet access to underserved areas of the world.
Saturday's mission was the 34th launch for Starlink, a constellation of nearly 2,000 satellites in low Earth orbit.
SpaceX also was scheduled to launch a Turkish communications satellite from Florida at 10:58 pm EST Saturday.
Musk Wants SpaceX to Turn CO2 From Atmosphere Into Rocket Fuel
(Bloomberg) Billionaire Elon Musk is pushing ahead with an attempt to utilize emissions contributing to climate change, tweeting that his rocket company will launch a program to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and use it to power spacecraft.
The chairman and chief executive officer of Space Exploration Technologies Corp., Musk announced the project on Dec. 13, shortly after being named Person of the Year by Time magazine.
“SpaceX is starting a program to take CO2 out of atmosphere & turn it into rocket fuel,” he tweeted. Using carbon dioxide to power space travel “will also be important for Mars,” he added in a subsequent missive.
Musk’s proposal quickly met with skepticism from some of his Twitter followers, who cast doubt on its viability.
SpaceX, which has become a go-to provider of launch services for customers such as NASA, is developing rockets for deep-space travel that could send humans to Mars. Musk told an interviewer last year that he was confident a crewed mission to the red planet could take place in 2026.
Musk, the world’s richest man thanks to the popularity of his electric-vehicle maker, Tesla Inc., said in January he would donate $100 million toward a prize for the best carbon-capture technology.
The new initiative to make rocket fuel would rely on a type of technology, direct air capture (DAC), still in its early stages of development. The world’s largest DAC plant, a facility in Iceland, began operation in September and will take 4,000 tons annually from the air, about double the world’s previous DAC capacity.
Musk has used his Twitter account before for statements that appear on first glance to be impulsive or trolling. He announced via a tweet last week that he was considering giving up his jobs and “becoming an influencer full-time.”
Last month, he taunted Senator Bernie Sanders, 80, after the Vermont independent who caucuses with Senate Democrats reiterated his call for the wealthy to pay more in taxes.
“I keep forgetting that you’re alive,” the billionaire tweeted at the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.
Musk has been offloading part of his stake in Tesla, selling $906.5 million of the company’s shares in his most-recent transaction, according to regulatory filings dated Monday.
Tesla shares have slumped 21% since Musk pledged on Twitter to dispose of 10% of his stake in early November.