SpaceX launches first satellites for Musk’s Starlink Internet service

A Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket with a payload of 60 satellites for SpaceX’s Starlink broadband network, lifts off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (Florida Today via AP)
Updated 24 May 2019

SpaceX launches first satellites for Musk’s Starlink Internet service

  • The rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at about 10:30 p.m. local time
  • The Falcon 9 was due to release its cargo of 60 satellites into orbit about an hour after Thursday’s launch

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida: High-tech entrepreneur Elon Musk’s SpaceX company launched a Falcon 9 rocket from Florida on Thursday on a mission to carry the first batch of five dozen small satellites into low-Earth orbit for his new Starlink Internet service.
The rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at about 10:30 p.m. local time (0230 GMT Friday), marking a milestone in a global enterprise aimed at generating cash for Musk’s larger ambitions in space.
The launch came a week after two back-to-back countdowns for the mission were scrubbed — once due to high winds over the Cape and the next night in order to update satellite software and “triple-check” all systems.
The Falcon 9 was due to release its cargo of 60 satellites into orbit about an hour after Thursday’s launch. Each one weighs 500 pounds (227 kg), making it the heaviest payload for any SpaceX rocket to date.
Those satellites are designed to form the initial phase a planned constellation capable of beaming signals for high-speed Internet service from space to paying customers around the globe.
Musk has said he sees the new Starlink venture as an important new revenue stream for his California-based Space Exploration Technologies, known as SpaceX, whose launch service income he expects to top out at around $3 billion a year.

Speaking to reporters last week, Musk said that makes Starlink pivotal in helping pay for his larger goals of developing a new spacecraft to fly paying customers to the moon and for eventually trying to colonize Mars.
“We think this is a key stepping stone on the way toward establishing a self-sustaining city on Mars and a base on the moon,” said Musk, the billionaire entrepreneur who is also chief executive officer of automaker Tesla Inc.
At least 12 launches carrying similar payloads are needed to achieve constant Internet coverage of most of the world, Musk said. Starlink is only currently authorized for operations in the United States.
Musk faces stiff competition. In February, Airbus SE-backed OneWeb launched its own clutch of satellites, while LeoSat Enterprises and Canada’s Telesat are also working to build data networks.
In each network, the tiny satellites orbit closer to Earth than traditional communications satellites, a technological shift made possible by advances in laser technology and computer chips.
Musk said SpaceX would begin approaching customers later this year or next year. As many as 2,000 satellites will be launched per year, with the ultimate objective of placing up to 12,000 into orbit.


Twitter service restored following global platform outage

Updated 16 October 2020

Twitter service restored following global platform outage

SAN FRANCISCO, California: Twitter was restored Thursday evening after a technical problem caused a global outage of nearly two hours on the social media platform used by hundreds of millions worldwide.
The outage marked a new setback for the company, which for the past two days has been fending off accusations of bias over its decision to block a news report critical of Democratic White House candidate Joe Biden.
“We are continuing to monitor the issue, and things appear to have returned to normal,” Twitter’s application programming interface site said at 0011 GMT Friday.
The California-based company tweeted earlier: “We had some trouble with our internal systems and don’t have any evidence of a security breach or hack.”
According to downdetector.com, users on every continent had reported being unable to use the platform, but the outages were concentrated on the east and west coasts of the United States, as well as Japan.
The outage appeared to have started around 2130 GMT.

The Twitter shutdown came at a delicate moment. The company this week took the dramatic step of reducing the reach of a New York Post article critical of Biden, drawing a harsh rebuke from conservatives.
Thursday’s outage was the latest technical breakdown to knock Twitter offline. The platform experienced an hour-long outage in July 2019, one lasting several hours a year ago and yet another last February.
More worrisome are hacking attacks on popular social media platforms like Twitter.
In July, prominent Americans including former president Barack Obama, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Tesla chief Elon Musk saw their Twitter accounts hacked.
The attack targeted at least 130 accounts, with tweets posted by the intruders duping people into sending $100,000 in Bitcoin, supposedly in exchange for double the amount sent.
Several people aged 17 to 22 have since been charged for the hack, in which they targeted Twitter employees for personal passcodes to get into the company’s internal systems.
In September 2019, Twitter experienced a brief but embarrassing attack: the account of its founder Jack Dorsey was hacked and erratic and offensive messages were posted from it.