SpaceX set for another launch to test internet beaming satellitesBy Robin-Leigh Chetty 16 February 2018 | Categories: news
February is shaping up to be a big month for SpaceX. Following the company's successful launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket last week, now they are turning their attention to satellites. To that end, SpaceX is set to send another Falcon 9 rocket into space this weekend, which will carry an Earth observing satellite for Spain named Paz.
Of more interest to us, however, is the other payload the Falcon 9 will be carrying. In particular, a pair of prototype satellites that SpaceX built to beam down internet connectivity to Earth. These test devices, named Microsat-2a and Microsat-2b, form part of a larger plan for SpaceX to create a satellite internet network for the planet.
As such, the company plans to have an estimated 12 000 such satellites orbiting the Earth in a synchronised formation. There will be two different frequencies sending down signal to antenna receivers on Earth's surface, with the first lot of 4 425 satellites at 1126 kilometres and the second batch of 7 575 sitting lower at 321 kilometres.
While we're not privy to how SpaceX aims to deliver the service, having that many satellites in orbit could potentially mean that they can cover every metre of the Earth's surface where internet access is required.
As for the service, which is currently called Starlink, SpaceX aims to have it up and running by 2025, with the company expecting a subscriber base of 40 million, according to The Wall Street Journal (paywall).
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