Hawthorne-based SpaceX will attempt Wednesday to launch the first of what could eventually be thousands of satellites designed to provide space-based internet service around the globe.
The company plans to launch 60 “Starlink” satellites aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida. The launch window opens at 7:30 p.m. California time.
SpaceX founder Elon Musk tweeted a photo over the weekend showing the 60 satellites crammed into the fairing atop the rocket, noting it was a “tight fit.” He said the satellites are all “production design,” unlike the two so-called “Tintin” demonstration satellites the company launched last year.
Musk’s goal of creating a space-based internet network will require far more than just 60 satellites. Musk noted that providing “minor” internet coverage would require six more launches of 60 satellites each, while offering “moderate” coverage would require another 12 such launches.
SpaceX has previously estimated that its proposed Starlink array could involve as many as 12,000 satellites in varying orbits to provide global internet coverage, with the project taking at least a decade to implement.
On Twitter, Musk seemed to indicate his hopes weren’t very high for the first batch of satellites, writing, “Much will likely go wrong on 1st mission.”
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