SpaceX teams across the United States are readying for what the company’s chief operating officer predicts will be a record number of launches in 2020. Before the end of January, SpaceX aims to perform four Falcon 9 launches from Florida’s Space Coast — three for the company’s Starlink broadband network, and a crucial in-flight abort test for the Crew Dragon spacecraft no earlier than Jan. 11.
SpaceX’s next launch of satellites for the company’s Starlink broadband network — planned in the final days of 2019 — will carry one spacecraft with an experimental coating designed to make it less reflective in orbit, a first step in assuaging concerns from scientists who say the deployment of thousands more Starlink stations would impede some astronomical observations.
SpaceX’s first launch since August took off from Cape Canaveral at 9:56 a.m. EST (1456 GMT) to carry 60 broadband satellites into orbit for the company’s Starlink network. The Starlink satellites rode together on top of a Falcon 9 rocket with a previously-flown first stage and a reused payload fairing.