ARS Technica reports that after two cancelled launch attempts, SpaceX has successfully launched its first Starlink mission. The Falcon 9 carried 60 Starlink satellites to low Earth orbit (LEO). With each satellite weighing 227kg, this resulted in a total mass of 18.5 tons, making it the heaviest SpaceX launch to date.
The goal of SpaceX is to deliver low-latency Internet that can be used around the globe. This is intended to be a major revenue source, as SpaceX needs a lot of money to finance its Mars dreams. CEO Elon Musk says six more launches are needed to provide some initial Internet connectivity to ground-based users. A dozen launches would result in "significant" connectivity, and 24 launches would deliver near-worldwide operation.
About 1 hour and 3 minutes after the launch, the entire stack of 60 satellites floated away from the Falcon 9's second stage. Slowly—very slowly, it appeared—the 60 satellites began to drift apart. The SpaceX webcast ended without saying whether this deployment went as anticipated, and it probably will take some time for the Air Force to begin identifying, and tracking the individual satellites.