Elon Musk just showed off 60 of the first SpaceX satellites that could change the internet as we know it
14 May, 2019, 22:29
But they lack equipment that would link them into a mesh network, and are not meant to become part of SpaceX's planned network of around 12,000 broadband satellites, SpaceX president and chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell said last week. He posted side-by-side photos of the Starlink craft in their fairing and his Tesla Roadster in its fairing in early 2018, before the auto took flight on the first test mission of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket.
According to Shotwell, the 60 satellites set to be launched are still prototypes.
These Internet satellites represent the company's plan to build an Internet satellite network - "Starlink". However, the exact number of the company's Starlink satellites that would be aboard the Falcon 9 rocket had been a mystery.
SpaceX plans to launch the first string of satellites from Cape Canaveral, Florida sometime this month.
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"Much will likely go wrong on 1st mission", Musktweeted. On Twitter, Musk noted that the satellites are flat-packed inside the nosecone, or payload fairing, and there is no dispenser for deploying them into orbit.
Musk said late on Monday that a static-fire test of the Falcon 9 rocket had completed successfully, paving the way for a possible launch on Wednesday.
Musk has predicted the network will be able to go live in the mid-2020s once about 800 satellites have been launched.
If successful, not only will the Starlink constellation bypass complicated ground-based infrastructure and deliver internet to remote areas of the world, but it could become a cash cow that helps fund Musk's dream to colonize Mars, according to spaceflight experts. Musk hopes to launch a total of 12,000 satellites. Companies like OneWeb, Telesat, LeoSat, and now Amazon are also working on massive constellations that would provide internet connectivity from low orbits over Earth. But now SpaceX is poised to gain a significant lead in the race to provide internet from space, though it looks like more hardware upgrades are still needed for future missions.