Three years ago, Elon Musk revealed the project for SpaceX Starlink global internet constellation in a Seattle event. They are finally ready to launch the first prototype satellites endorsing global internet.
The launch from Vandenberg Air Force of California is scheduled on the coming Saturday, that’s February 17. The spacecraft, called Microsat 2a and 2b, will be the secondary payloads on Falcon 9 rocket. As for the primary payload, Paz is a 3,000-pound Spanish radar observation satellite.
SpaceX tweeted the launch info yesterday, adding that the static-fire test for Falcon 9 was completed at Vandenberg. The test included a brie fire-up of a previously flown first-stage booster’s rocket engines.
Static fire test of Falcon 9 complete—targeting February 17 launch of PAZ from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) February 11, 2018
Paz will be launched into a pole-to-pole orbit for 319 miles a stretch. Although, the satellites may take a higher voyage to test Ku-band radio communication system along with a series of ground stations. SpaceX was crowned for leadership in developing satellite network to a team in Redmond, Washington.
FCC received documents that state that the ground stations will be housed in the SpaceX facilities at Redmond and Brewster of Washington, Fremont and Hawthorne of California, and McGregor and Brownsville of Texas.
SpaceX will as well test satellite communications with receiving terminals that are built into the mobile vans. As per the business plans, the company is on course to put thousands of communication satellites in the earth’s orbit, which will have limited service starting 2020. The constellation is informally known as SpaceX Starlink and it would provide low-cost global internet access.
SpaceX does well in keeping it all a mystery regarding details on Starlink-related developments. Mandatory government fillings and online insider forums are so far the only points to derive information from.
Well, in the mission to provide global internet access via satellite constellation, SpaceX does not find itself alone. Its major rival OneWeb, along with ViaSat, Telesat, LeoSat, SES 03B and Boeing are the competitors in the race.