SpaceX to Launch Prototype Internet Satellites; Tesla to Get Heaven-based Uplink
Chalk this one up to another one of Musk’s ideasby Kirby Garlitos, on
There’s no end in sight to Elon Musk’s ambitions. A week after the successful launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket, Musk’s SpaceX company is preparing for another trip to space. No, it’s not sending another Tesla Roadster to space. Instead, it’s sending the first two prototypes of its demonstration Starlink satellites to the Earth’s orbit. The long-term goal of these satellites is to provide low-cost Internet access around the world, a plan that Musk has been working on over the past few years.
The letter referred to a pair of satellites — Microsat-2a and Microsat-2b — that will be launched as secondary payloads on board a Falcon 9 rocket that will be carrying the Spanish government’s “Paz” satellite.
There’s been no confirmation from SpaceX of this planned launch, but all signs point to it happening, thanks to a letter from SpaceX to the Federal Communications Commission that the latter made available on its website earlier this week. The letter referred to a pair of satellites — Microsat-2a and Microsat-2b — that will be launched as secondary payloads on board a Falcon 9 rocket that will be carrying the Spanish government’s “Paz” satellite.
Apparently, the FCC already granted SpaceX permission to hitch a ride aboard the rocket and launch the pair of satellites as part of a test mission that the company hopes will open the door for a constellation of 12,000 satellites in orbit that can offer Internet services to broadband users. In addition to the launch of the two prototype satellites, SpaceX is also reportedly working on a user terminal that will receive the signal from the satellites once they’ve set up shop in orbit.
If successful, millions of people around the world could benefit from having a new source of Internet connectivity that Musk believes will be up and running in the early part of the next decade. For its part, there have been rumors that Tesla could use the service to tap into its space-based Internet connection. That’s another wrinkle to look out for as Musk and SpaceX prepare for another voyage in the world of the stars. Only Elon Musk, folks. Only Elon Musk.
The Falcon 9 launch is scheduled for this Saturday, February 17th.
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