Spacex Readies for Launch of Falcon 9 Rocket, 60 Starlink Satellites

Elon Musk Shows Off 60 Starlink Satellites Stacked Inside A Falcon Rocket

The first 60 operational satellites for SpaceX's project, called Starlink, are slated to launch aboard one of the company's Falcon 9 rockets at around 10:30 p.m. local time Thursday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, after wind conditions caused a 24-hour delay to the original schedule.

SpaceX was poised to launch 60 satellites to space Wednesday night, a significant step forward in the race to provide Internet service across the globe from a constellation of satellites whizzing around the planet.

SpaceX has previously estimated that its proposed Starlink array could involve as many as 12,000 satellites in varying orbits to provide global internet coverage, with the project taking at least a decade to implement. It attempts to bring high - speed, low- latency internet to anyone in the world.

But Sachdeva has raised questions about whether SpaceX is wise to plan a constellation of satellites that could eventually total 12,000. And rival OneWeb, which has attracted billions in investment from companies including SoftBank and Qualcomm, already has the first six satellites of its constellation up.

Musk said that the North American Aerospace Defense Command tracks all objects in orbit, and SpaceX uploads that database to the satellites, which use the data to avoid collisions by firing mini-thrusters powered by the chemical element krypton. By that time, we could expect other competitors to have jumped into this bandwagon.

SpaceX plans to complete its Starlink in 2027 - the full-deployment deadline issued by the Federal Communications Commission. This was reported by Musk on Twitter. The company has plans for an additional two to six Starlink launches, but how many happen this year will depend on how everything goes tomorrow.

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. The cost of launching each small satellite is pricier than building it, he said. SpaceX chose krypton because it is less expensive than xenon, Musk said.

If the Starlink project works, it would mean abundant, fast internet everywhere on Earth, including in remote parts of Australia. The idea is to put up tiny satellites that stay in orbit much closer to home. After an orbit has enough satellites, it will be linked to the ground terminals on Earth. Effectively a testbed for SpaceX to gain experience building an operating rockets made out of steel, Starhopper is unlikely to ever move beyond low-speed, low-altitude hover tests.

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