iD magazine

THE BIRTH OF A NEW CONSTELLAT­ION

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In May of 2019, Spacex successful­ly used one of its Falcon 9 rockets to launch the first 60 Starlink satellites into orbit. When stacked together (photo), that’s all that can fit inside the second stage. But a newer, bigger rocket already exists that could fit 400 satellites. Spacex has conducted a successful test flight of its next-generation Starship rocket in late 2020 with test flights into orbit to follow in 2021. Previous rockets have been partially reusable, but Spacex envisions a fully reusable Starship that’s closer in utility to a commercial airliner, meaning the only major cost would be fuel. The ultimate objective: to take cargo and up to 100 people at a time to the Moon and eventually on to Mars. Spacex CEO Elon Musk acknowledg­es there are many miles to go before Starship can carry passengers: “First we’ve got to make the thing work—automatica­lly deliver satellites and perform hundreds of satellite missions—before we put people on board.”

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