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SpaceX initiates its Space Internet Network with Launch of First 60 Satellites

SpaceX has initiated the launch of its ambitious venture of providing satellite internet all across the Earth with the successful launch of the first 60 satellites. In order to make this venture operational, SpaceX must complete the launch and activation of 800 satellites, which will require at least a dozen more launches.

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SpaceX has launched a rocket carrying the first 60 satellites of its “Starlink” constellation, which is intended to provide internet from space in an array that could one day contain over 12,000 orbiting transponders.

One of the company’s Falcon 9 rockets blasted off without incident from Cape Canaveral in Florida around 10:30 pm Thursday (0230 GMT Friday). An hour later, the rocket began to release the satellites at an altitude of 280 miles (450 kilometers).

The satellites then had to separate and use their thrusters to take up their positions in a relatively low orbit of 340 miles (550 kilometers). “Successful deployment of 60 Starlink satellites confirmed!”, the company said on its official Twitter account.

A statement issued by SpaceX on Twitter notes, “Starlink will connect the globe with reliable and affordable high-speed broadband services.”

Their final orbit is slightly higher than the International Space Station, but well below the majority of terrestrial satellites the highest of which are geostationary at 22,400 miles (36,000 kilometers). The launch was originally scheduled for last week, but was postponed first because of high winds and then due to the need for a software update.

SpaceX’s Heaviest Satellite Launch till date

Earlier, SpaceX launched two test satellites, but Thursday’s launch lays the foundation of their ultimate objective of launching and operating 12,000 satellites orbiting in the space to provide internet on Earth by the 2020s.

A statement released by Space X, cited by Forbes, stated, “With a flat-panel design featuring multiple high-throughput antennas and a single solar array, each Starlink satellite weighs approximately 227 kilograms. Importantly, Starlink satellites are capable of tracking on-orbit debris and autonomously avoiding collision.”

Read more: Japanese billionaire businessman revealed as SpaceX’s first Moon traveler

A report by Forbes notes that the launch of 60 satellites, of which each satellite weighs 227 kilograms, SpaceX has just successfully completed its heaviest launch till date, weighing a total of 13,620 kilograms. Needless to say, this is the beginning of a very ambitious and grand satellite launch program that will witnessed many more launches conducted in small-sized batches to install Starlink satellites onto their orbits.

A statement issued by SpaceX on Twitter notes, “Starlink will connect the globe with reliable and affordable high-speed broadband services.”

SpaceX has ambitions to make Starlink capable of providing undisrupted and high-speed satellite internet across the surface of the Earth, even the remote regions, such as America. Presently, their satellite internet services are restricted to just one country, and the speed and bandwidth limits remain low, which prevents Starlink from competing with its Earth-based competitors.

SpaceX expects to encounter issues along the way, but our learnings here are key to developing an affordable and reliable broadband service in the future.

Billionaires Embroiled in Internet Space Battle?

Billionaire Elon Musk’s firm, which is leading the private space race when it comes to rocket launches, is now looking to seize a chunk of the future space internet market. “All 60 Starlink satellites online, solar array deployment coming up soon,” Musk tweeted after the disbursement.

The launch makes Starlink an early forerunner of the technology. Startup OneWeb also has a foot in the door, well ahead of Amazon’s Project Kuiper, the brainchild of Musk’s space rival Jeff Bezos. Each of the satellites weighs 227 kilograms (500 pounds) and was built in-house in Redmond, near Seattle.

Starlink will become operational once 800 satellites have been activated, which will require a dozen more launches. With so many units orbiting in the Starlink constellation, the satellites have been designed to automatically divert in the face of man-made or natural space debris.

Read more: SpaceX capsule back on Earth, paving way for new manned US…

“This mission will push the operational capabilities of the satellites to the limit,” the company said in a statement. “SpaceX expects to encounter issues along the way, but our learnings here are key to developing an affordable and reliable broadband service in the future.”

According to the company, SpaceX broadband internet should be accessible by devices such as mobile phones from anywhere on Earth at competitive pricing. It intends using profits to help fund Musk’s next stated aim a mission to Mars.

AFP with additional input by GVS news desk.

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