Publicado: Vie, May 17, 2019
Ciencia | Por Aurelio Ontiveros

SpaceX To Launch 60 Starlink Satellites For Speedy Space Internet Service

SpaceX To Launch 60 Starlink Satellites For Speedy Space Internet Service

SpaceX was meant to rocket the first 60 of almost 12,000 satellites into orbit as part of its goal to cover the world in high-speed internet. At stake is the chance to be one of the world's largest Internet providers by building the architecture in space, giving WiFi access to billions of people without it. Noting it is a "multi-billion dollar endeavor", he said that SpaceX has enough capital for the time being. Elon Musk has shared the news in a series of tweets where he not only shows off the Starlink satellites but also shows a picture of SpaceX's Starman before the launch from previous year to give his followers a sense of the scale.

Musk, SpaceX's chief executive officer, first announced his satellite plans in 2015 when the company opened an engineering campus near Seattle.

Last year, SpaceX launched a pair of prototype satellites to test the service.

Elon Musk tweeted an image of the 60 satellites that will be packed into the Falcon 9.

"Much will likely go wrong on 1st mission", he tweeted on Saturday. Musk said the Starlink launch will also reuse fairings - clamshell-like halves that make up a rocket's nosecone - that flew on an April 11 rocket launch.

In the past, others have tried and failed to do just what SpaceX, OneWeb and others are hoping to accomplish.

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Musk said SpaceX would like to keep Starlink satellites in orbit for four to five years before deorbiting and replacing them with newer, more capable models. There are options for satellite-based internet, but those services are notoriously slow, expensive or unreliable. Others with similar ambitions include Amazon.com Inc.'s Bezos, who runs rival rocket company Blue Origin LLC; Canada's Telesat, and Virginia-based OneWeb Satellites, which has backing from SoftBank Group Corp.

In a statement, Amazon said that its program, known as Project Kuiper, is created to bring broadband to "unserved and underserved communities around the world". While Wednesday's satellites will be nearly fully functional, Shotwell said the launch is really meant to test out how the large bank of satellites can be safely deployed into orbit - that is, without colliding with each other or winding up at the wrong altitude. "If we are putting a lot more satellites than that in orbit, that's a very good thing - it means there is a lot of demand for the system".

In a call with reporters ahead of the evening launch, the billionaire entrepreneur praised the "fundamental goodness" of his mission to expand internet connectivity globally but cautioned that success was far from guaranteed.

"Each company has to launch a certain number of satellites to provide commercial services", said Tom Stroup, president of the Satellite Industry Association in Washington.

Getting tens, hundreds, or thousands of satellites into space and operational "is no small feat", he said.

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