On Thursday, SpaceX has successfully launched its first batch of Starlink internet satellites consisting of 60 satellites. Its mission is to put up a megaconstellation that could help to provide cheap broadband internet all over the planet.
A Falcon 9 rocket carrying the satellites lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 10:30 PM ET, and it deployed the satellites an around 11:30 PM ET. It slowly began to drop the individual satellites into orbit. Each of the flat-panel satellites weighs about 500 pounds, powered by a single solar array.
Starlink will require link of 12,000 such satellites to provide cheap internet. Traditional satellite internet suffers from extreme latency of a second or more, but Starlink will feature more than 7,500 in very-low-earth orbit (VLEO) to reduce latency on the ground.
After the launch, Musk said the satellites would fan out in a way that will look like “spreading a deck of cards on a table.”
Mr. Musk also raised concerns over the mission. He tweeted “There is a lot of new technology here,” he said. “It’s possible that some of these satellites may not work. In fact, it’s possible, a small possibility, that all of the satellites may not work.”
According to CEO Elon Musk, SpaceX needs six more launches to begin the service, and a further six needed to begin “significant coverage” around most of Earth. SpaceX will operate its satellites at altitudes of 500 kilometers and 1,200 kilometers.
Mr. Musk did not announce any pricing and servicing cost but it is no longer secret that Starlink’s main goal is to fund the Mars mission.