Elon Musk's spaceflight company SpaceX is now the world's largest satellite operator. As we've previously covered, SpaceX aim to offer low-latency satellite Internet in some regions of the world by mid-2020. For global coverage, the company will need a lot more satellites in low-Earth orbit.
ARS Technica reports a Falcon 9 rocket from SpaceX launched 60 Starlink satellites today, bringing the company's total number of Starlink satellites in orbit to 180. Each satellite weighs around 220kg and SpaceX plans 20 more launches for 2020.
Becoming a satellite operator has not been without its challenges for SpaceX. It has had to work closely with the Air Force's 18th Space Control Squadron to track its Starlink satellites and ensure they do not collide with other satellites on orbit. SpaceX has also faced a backlash of criticism from astronomers and dark sky advocates who say its "trains" of satellites have polluted the sky. In response, SpaceX has said it will take steps to make the satellites less visible and disruptive to nighttime skies.
Within a couple of years, SpaceX aims to have close to 12,000 Starlink satellites in orbit to provide global coverage. Besides SpaceX, Amazon and some other companies also plan to launch thousands of Internet satellites.