Three years ago, Elon Musk revealed the project for SpaceX Starlink global internet constellation at a Seattle event. They are finally ready to launch the first prototype satellites endorsing the global internet.
The launch from Vandenberg Air Force of California is scheduled for 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.
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 the Ku-band radio communication system along with a series of ground stations. SpaceX was crowned for leadership in developing a satellite network for 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 also test satellite communications with receiving terminals 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 in 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.