SpaceX Starlink Network Of Satellites To Beam Superfast Internet From Space

Ivan Schwartz
February 18, 2018

Southland residents could be treated to another Elon Musk-sponsored light show on Wednesday as Hawthorne-based SpaceX launches a mission from Vandenberg Air Force Base.

In a February 1 letter to the FCC, SpaceX detailed its plans to launch a pair of experimental satellites on one of its Falcon 9 rockets.

On Feb. 6, the company launched the world's most powerful rocket, SpaceX's Falcon Heavy, from Florida.

The primary mission for the launch is to send the 3,000-pound PAZ satellite into orbit. Current broadband services use satellites in higher orbit with latencies of 600 milliseconds. "The low-orbit position could deliver broadband speeds equal to current speeds from traditional Net providers", says SpaceX.

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SpaceX gained a license from the FCC to launch this test in November. A Delta IV rocket, provided by United Launch Alliance, blasted off from the base on January 12 carrying a secret payload for the National Reconnaissance Office.

However, Pai's proposal to fellow commissioners for the project's approval is still pending, though the proposal is expected to sail through. In his statement on Wednesday, Pai says, "Satellite technology can help reach Americans who live in rural or hard-to-serve places where fibre optic cables and cell towers do not reach, and it can offer more competition where terrestrial Internet access is already available".

SpaceX hopes they will be the first of some 12,000 satellites in total that will make up the future internet service. It said it is also processing similar requests. About 14 million rural Americans and 1.2 million Americans on tribal lands lack mobile broadband even at relatively slow speeds. Those satellites were described by the company in an earlier license application as part of a test of a "broadband antenna communications platform". In October, a pair of US senators sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission asking the agency to coordinate with other federal agencies on space junk in light of the plans by SpaceX and others to add thousands of new satellites to Earth's orbit.

The initial deployment will consist of approximately 120 satellites by 2021, said privately held Telesat, principally owned by Canada's Public Sector Pension Investment Board and Loral Space & Communications Inc.

Other reports by GizPress

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