Published: Sat, May 25, 2019
Sci-tech | By Jackie Newman

SpaceX launches 60 Starlink satellites on Falcon 9 rocket

SpaceX launches 60 Starlink satellites on Falcon 9 rocket

SpaceX founder and chief designer Elon Musk told reporters before the first launch try last week that the company "does not need anywhere near 10,000 satellites to be effective".

SpaceX has this morning completed the first successful launch and delivery of 60 small Starlink Satellites, which are Low Earth Orbit (LEO) dwelling spacecraft that could in theory deliver "ultrafast broadband" speeds of up to 1Gbps and low latency times of around 25ms (milliseconds) around the world.

Eventually, the company wants to launch almost 12,000 spacecraft, each weighing almost 227kg.

The 60 Starlink satellites being deployed from orbit. Also, 6 more launches of 60 satellites needed for minor coverage, 12 for moderate.

SpaceX however will only start touting the service to U.S. customers later this year when it has enough satellites in orbit.

Musk said that revenue from launching rockets for customers peaks at about $3 billion a year, but that he believes internet service revenue could be $30 billion a year.

It should be noted that each satellite weighs a hefty 227kgs and contains a single solar array.

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Musk's goal of creating a space-based internet network will require far more than just 60 satellites.

Indeed, the satellites orbit closer to Earth than traditional communications satellites thanks to advances in laser technology and computer chips. Since the 1990s, telecommunications companies have contemplated the possibility of using satellites that broadcast in the Ka-band to provide wireless internet access.

This last point is important due to increasing concerns about space clutter in orbit.

There are plenty more of these satellites to come: SpaceX wants to launch 12,000 of these things to build a network capable of connecting the entire world to the internet, with the aim of connecting places which aren't already online.

The satellites are equipped with star tracker navigation systems that allow SpaceX to pinpoint the satellites.

SpaceX said it would probably take another day to learn whether all the satellites deployed were functioning properly.

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