Live updates of the countdown and launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida with 60 satellites for SpaceX’s Starlink broadband network.
Elon Musk is a busy person, and the most recent project on his plate includes launching 60 satellites into space. The launch is a part of his company SpaceX’s Starlink plan—an aspiring endeavor to bring high-speed, low-latency internet to anyone in the world.
The gist of it is as follows. Starlink bases on utilizing low earth orbit (LEO) satellites. Fundamentally, when enough satellites are in orbit, they connect to ground terminals on Earth that are generally the measure of a pizza box. Compared with existing web satellite systems, LEO satellite constellations are a lot nearer to Earth—99 to 1,200 miles rather than the 22,000 miles utilized by conventional geostationary satellites. That implies LEO satellites can transfer data all the more rapidly, with paces practically identical to wired broadband and fiber-optic web. As indicated by an examination by BroadbandNow, LEO satellite networks could possibly spare American family units more than $30 billion in internet fees per year, as well as deliver more reliable service to rural areas that don’t have many options when it comes to high-speed wired internet.
As energizing as that seems to be, in any case, tomorrow’s launch is as yet a trial. Musk tweeted a photograph of the satellites stuck into a Falcon 9 rocket on Saturday, remarking that they were “production design.” SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell also recently stated this launch will focus on scaled down “test satellites” that, while very capable, lack intersatellite links. The 60 satellites are also slightly different from the two demo satellites SpaceX launched in February 2018, nicknamed TinTin A and TinTin B.
SpaceX has a decent amount riding on the success of tomorrow’s launch. The final Starlink constellation is planned to have around 12,000 satellites total. At the present time, SpaceX has FCC endorsement to dispatch 1,584 satellites at a tallness of 340 miles (550 kilometers), and the other 2,825 at around 690-825 miles (1,110 to 1,325 kilometers). In any case, that approval is contingent on SpaceX launching at least half of the 4,409 satellites in the next six years. From that point forward, the company will just have around three years to wrap setting up the star constellation. Musk tweeted that SpaceX needs six more 60-satellite launches for minor coverage, and twelve for moderate coverage. 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. No matter which way you look at it, that’s a pretty tight timeline.
Inasmuch as climate holds up and the world doesn’t detonate, the launch is scheduled for 10:30 p.m. ET Wednesday at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. (You can watch it on SpaceX’s live webcast.)
Starlink isn’t the only megaconstellation project in the works, however. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin also wants to launch 3,236 LEO satellites in an initiative its dubbed Project Kuiper. OneWeb also has plans to send up 900 satellites by 2021, and launched the first six in February.