Science

SpaceX launches first internet satellites

It forms part of the firm's new Starlink network, which wants to create a new broadband network beaming internet access to remote areas of Earth.

SpaceX has begun to roll out a network of orbiting satellites that will beam internet coverage down to Earth as part of a new broadband scheme.

The space company has successfully deployed 60 satellites to space, in a network which is expected to eventually cover the entire planet in providing internet coverage.

The multibillion-dollar Starlink project has been approved by the US communications agency to send almost 12,000 satellites into space.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk has previously claimed that once active, the network will deliver “one terabit of bandwidth” to Earth, with the aim of using the new network to provide better internet access to under-served parts of the world.

SpaceX Launch
A Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket, with a payload of 60 satellites for SpaceX’s Starlink broadband network, lifts off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Florida’s Cape Canaveral (AP)

A previous demonstration of prototypes called Tintin A and B was carried out in February 2018 with coverage good enough to play fast response video games, Mr Musk claimed.

The launch came after two previous planned launches were cancelled due to heavy winds and additional safety checks.

SpaceX Launch
It is hoped the satellites will bring broadband coverage to under-served areas of the planet (AP)

The first Starlink payload consisted of 60 “flat-pack” satellites, the heaviest in SpaceX’s history, Mr Musk said.

He has previously said it will take “six more launches” of 60 satellites to initially activate Starlink, and 12 more for significant coverage.

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