Elon Musk Wants Global Broadband Internet. Here's His First Step

An illustration of SpaceX's constellation of Starlink satellites

The satellites are the first operational units of SpaceX's Starlink initiative, a planned mega-constellation of almost 12,000 spacecraft that will sit in a low orbit above Earth and beam internet connectivity to the surface below.

According to Shotwell, the 60 satellites set to be launched are still prototypes.

SpaceX plans to launch the first string of satellites from Cape Canaveral, Florida sometime this month.

SpaceX's Starlink Satellites Could Make Space a Minefield. The shear amount of satellites needed to extend internet coverage relayed from space to every nook and cranny on the face of the globe means design limitations favouring low weight and miniaturisation.

The SpaceX boss tweeted a shot of the flat-packed satellites flat-packed in the rocket's nose cone. The satellites are "flatpacked" into the fairing of a Falcon 9 rocket.

However, the FCC dismissed both of these, saying that they didn't feel SpaceX's satellites would interfere with other companies' satellites' frequencies, nor did they think the satellits would pose a collision risk due to their ability to maneuver out of the way of approaching satellites.

Now the company is preparing to launch the Starlink project in earnest.

But there are also many more launches to come. The event will be followed by six more launches each with 60 satellites which will be required for "minor" internet coverage, and 12 more launches for "moderate" coverage.

More details about the mission itself will be released on launch day but Elon Musk has stated that "much will likely go wrong" during this maiden flight. In total Musk has received permissions to launch nearly 12,000 satellites into space.

SpaceX is just one of many companies eager to launch large constellations of satellites into space, in order to offer global internet coverage.

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