Science

SpaceX Launches First 60 Satellites to Deliver Internet From Space

SpaceX Launches First 60 Satellites to Deliver Internet From Space

SpaceX just vaulted a rocket full of 60 satellites into the sky.

Both constellations of satellites orbit much closer to the Earth than typical communications satellites, something which reduces signal lag.

After weather conditions delayed the launch of 60 Starlink satellites two weeks ago, SpaceX finally fired off a Falcon 9 rocket packed with production-grade satellites to begin building a network that it hopes will provide high-speed internet to every spot on the planet. The 60 satellites make up SpaceX's heaviest payload to date, weighing about 500 pounds (227 kilograms) each.

The launch had previously been planned for earlier this month, but it was postponed as a result of delay with a separate mission to the International Space Station, and because of strong winds. The rocket will turn over as the satellites fan out in a way that will look like "spreading a deck of cards on a table", as SpaceX CEO Elon Musk described it.

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" The first 1,584 Starlink satellites are expected to operate from a 550km orbit (GSO / GEO Stationary Orbit satellites sit at about 35,000km+ and are often more akin to the size of a double decker bus)". As many as 2,000 satellites will be launched per year, with the ultimate objective of placing up to 12,000 into orbit. The Starlink project, which is being developed since 2015, is created to provide reliable and fast access to the Internet anywhere in the world. "Always want to do everything we can on the ground to maximise mission success, next launch opportunity in about a week", SpaceX said on Twitter.

"There is a lot of new technology here, so it's possible that some of these satellites may not work", Musk said last week, adding that there is a "small possibility" that none will work.

The other companies racing to construct satellite-based broadband networks include Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin, which intends to deploy a 3,200-satellite network known as Project Kuiper.

In fact, OneWeb has already launched several of its internet satellites from French Guiana into space back in February.