SpaceX Plans To Launch New Satellites TO Provide High Speed Internet To Earth

Elon Musk’s company SpaceX has officially received permission from the government of the United States of America to launch a satellite fleet that especially produced to deliver high-speed Internet signals down to earth. This is an announcement that comes just after the successful launch of the falcon heavy rocket system that had Elon Musk’s personal Tesla car launched into orbit.
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Elon Musk currently has plans to put 12,000 satellites into low Earth orbit in order to help connect developing parts of the world to the network of information known as the Internet. In areas that already have easy access to the Internet this technology could help to add some competitiveness to the markets as a lot of areas are dominated by one or two Internet service providers. This has potential implications of reductions in price as well as improvements in service speeds.
Last Thursday regulators in the Federal Communications Commission issued approval of the plan to launch the satellite network by SpaceX. This is the first time the agency has approved a US licensed satellite operation to use broadband technology. SpaceX has already launched several demo satellites in order to test the concept and plans have already been made to have satellites come online sometime next year.
In comparison to current satellite Internet technology, the new satellite network would be much less expensive and much faster. The satellite fleet launched into orbit by SpaceX would orbit much closer than traditional communication satellites. Traditional communication satellites stay in a geostationary orbit high above the earth. By reducing the distance, the data has to travel between the satellite and earth the connection will improve in both speed and reliability.
There were still off work that needs to be done in order to successfully watch this program, but it marks an important first step for the company’s plans to help inundate the world with access to cheap and affordable high-speed Internet. While it represents a unique development in the space industry, it has not been without criticism. There have been some individuals who believe that the satellites could increase the risk of space debris due to their low orbiting nature. Elon Musk promises to deliver a high-speed satellite network that is normally effective but is also safe in its use case.

SpaceX Fails to Launch Broadband Satellites

On Wednesday morning, SpaceX prepared to launch one of its Falcon 9 launch vehicles at Vandenberg Air Force Base. However, due to strong winds, the launch was canceled and rescheduled for Thursday. The partially-reusable Falcon 9 was loaded down with a bevy of satellites, including the Paz military satellite, owned by the Spanish government, and two prototype satellites intended to be the first part of SpaceX’s upcoming broadband internet network.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk first announced his plan for a satellite-based broadband network in 2015. Since then, he has been hard at work seeking approval from the FCC to form his planned satellite constellation. Known as Starlink, the project is slated to have 12,000 satellites orbiting Earth by 2020. One company estimate puts the cost of Starlink at $10 billion. However, they also posited that Starlink could earn them at least $30 billion.

The first models of the Starlink satellites, Microsat-2a and Microsat-2b, were due to go up with the Falcon 9 on Wednesday. The Falcon 9 involved in this mission is reusing the booster used to launch Taiwain’s Formosat-5 observation satellite into orbit in August. The mission’s Paz satellite, constructed by Airbus and operated by Hisdesat for the Spanish military, will collect and transmit 3D images of Earth when it reaches low-Earth orbit.

Typically, Vandenberg Air Force Base’s weather balloon shop will begin sending up weather balloons six hours before launch. The team is then able to measure wind shear levels up to a height of 120,000 feet. They pass the data along to the upper level winds team, who makes the call on whether launch is go for the day. The launch weather officer at the base’s Western Range Operations Control Center makes the final decision.

Due to the weather delay, SpaceX will have to postpone the takeoff until Thursday. The launch will take place at Vandenberg Air Force Base near Mission Hills, California at 9:17 AM Eastern Standard Time. If conditions are not favorable, the launch may be postponed again for Friday. The mission was previously delayed on Tuesday when the crew had trouble with an abnormal rocket fairing.