Elon Musk’s space company, SpaceX, is planning to launch a set of 60 satellites in a single launch this week for the company’s Starlink broadband network.
If the venture turns successful, it will make SpaceX the first operator of an internet satellite network and also the sole competitor in this domain with its own rockets.
A cluster of satellites
Last year, SpaceX launched a pair of prototype satellites to test the service. The 60 satellites scheduled for launch are part of the 4,000 spacecraft planned for the Starlink network.
These satellites will form a constellation designed to facilitate thousands of the data links beaming internet access around the planet.
A speedy space-based internet service
Elon Musk tweeted an image of the 60 satellites that will be packed into the Falcon 9. The static fire test is complete and it is ready for launch on May 15th at 10:30 p.m. ET, given that the weather permits.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 12, 2019
Musk also warned things are “much will likely go wrong” in the first launch. He further added that it would take a minimum of six more launches like this, totalling up to 420 satellites to even begin “minor” coverage of the service.
At least 12 more launches will be required to compete commercially with terrestrial broadband. So don’t imagine yourself using Starlink connection any time soon.
Even if this project takes years to pull off, it will nevertheless be exciting for space and connectivity. By that time, we could expect other competitors to have jumped into this bandwagon.