SpaceX CEO Elon Musk says the company is close to public beta testing on its Starlink satellite broadband service after the launch of 60 additional satellites aboard a Falcon 9 booster on Tuesday.
“We will be able to roll out a fairly wide public beta [service] in northern US and hopefully southern Canada,” he tweeted. “Other countries to follow as soon as we receive regulatory approval.”
The satellites launched this week will first need time to reach their operational locations. Smallsat News reports:
Normally it would take about 2-3 weeks following launch to place a flight of satellites into their designated positions.
Musk’s SpaceX rockets have launched around 775 satellites into orbit and is expected to place another 60 into orbit before the end of October. However, a batch of satellites launched in May 2019 have been deliberately de-orbited. SpaceX has yet to give a reason for the de-orbiting.
Spaceflight analyst Jonathan McDowell says that 39 satellites were de-orbited from that May 2019 launch.