SpaceX To Launch 60 Starlink Satellites For Speedy Space Internet Service

Katie Ramirez
May 18, 2019

Elon Musk's rocket company will try to deliver a batch of 60 satellites into low-Earth orbit, the first for a megaconstellation of satellites that SpaceX is calling Starlink.

SpaceX already revealed more about how its Starlink internet-providing satellites will work, and now it has to put the first 60 in space. The project is expected to be completed by 2027 and will consist which is almost 12,000 satellites - six times the number of all operational spacecraft now in orbit. Even in the USA, a quarter of Americans in rural areas say access to high-speed internet is a major problem, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in 2018.

SpaceX first filed for permits for the new constellation of satellites in 2016.

When asked about SpaceX's launches, Dr Stijn Lemmens told Scientific American: "The worst case is: You launch all your satellites, you go bankrupt, and they all stay there".

Elon Musk is a busy person, and the most recent project on his plate includes launching 60 satellites into space.

The military will assess the launch with an eye toward future missions that depend on SpaceX's reusable boosters, the Air Force said. "We will hopefully have Starship active by the time we are anywhere near 12,000 satellites", he said, referring to the next-generation fully reusable launch system SpaceX is developing.

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SpaceX made that call just seconds before beginning its launch livestream at 10:45 p.m. EDT (0245 GMT).

SpaceX plans to complete its Starlink in 2027 - the full-deployment deadline issued by the Federal Communications Commission.

Musk said Starlink will have continual coverage of limited geographies at around 400 satellites, or seven launches including tomorrow's mission. Starlink is only now authorized for operations in the United States. As many as 2,000 satellites will be launched per year, he said.

The Federal Communications Commission initially authorized SpaceX to launch and operate a constellation of 4,425 non-geostationary orbit satellites in March of a year ago, then approved an additional 7,518 in November. SpaceX chose krypton because it is less expensive than xenon, Musk said.

The biggest problems with satellite-based internet service right now are that it's too pricey for common consumers, and the satellites are so far from Earth that they have frustrating dial-up era lag times.

That's a staggering figure - more than twice the total number of operational satellites that were in orbit in January 2015.

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