SpaceX is working on launching 60 satellites into low-Earth orbit as part of its Starlink project that aims to beam broadband internet across the planet.
The launch which was scheduled for Wednesday and then on Thursday has now been postponed to next week due to high winds and technical issues.
If all goes according to plan, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will take off with the satellites from Cape Canaveral in Florida.
The brainchild of billionaire Elon Musk, SpaceX is hoping to capitalize on the private space race and gain a major foothold in the space internet market.
The launch will make it an early forerunner, along with rival startup OneWeb, but well ahead of Amazon’s Project Kuiper.
Each of SpaceX’s satellites weigh around 227 kilograms (500 pounds) and was built in-house in Redmond, near Seattle.
The second stage of the rocket will begin to release them one hour after launch, at an altitude of 270 miles (440 kilometers).
The satellites will then use their thrusters to take up their places in a relatively low orbit of 340 miles (550 kilometers).
SpaceX chose a low orbit to reduce lag times as well as ensure uninterrupted broadband connectivity.
The company has already obtained approval from the U.S. government to launch up to 12,000 satellites, but Musk on Wednesday disclosed that a thousand would be enough for it to be ‘economically viable.’
Starlink will become operational once 800 satellites have been activated, which will require a dozen more launches.
“I think within a year and a half, maybe two years, if things go well, SpaceX will probably have more satellites in orbit than all other satellites combined,” opines Musk.
In order to receive SpaceX internet, users will need an antenna which “basically looks like a sort of a small to medium sized pizza,” said Musk, adding it would be a “flat disc.”
The company plans to team up with telecoms operators, but hasn’t yet begun the process of finding clients.
Image and content: AFP via PhysOrg