Published: Thu, February 22, 2018
Industry | By Dora Warner

SpaceX to launch first of its global internet satellites

SpaceX to launch first of its global internet satellites

Mr Musk's company began work on its own satellite plans in 2014 but has played down the urgency of the project as it has focused on its more immediate goals of improving the performance of its main Falcon 9 rocket and getting the long-delayed Falcon Heavy off the ground.

As per the previous report, initially, the Falcon 9 was scheduled to blast off from a launch pad at California's Vandenberg Air Force Base on 18th February. SpaceX ultimately intends to put some 12,000 broadband satellites in low Earth orbit - and Sunday's payload will mark the company's first stab at realising the dream. Per the San Diego Union-Tribune, the rescheduled launch time of early Wednesday morning may result in a "pre-dawn contrail that could be visible from San Diego County". The nose cone looks like a clamshell.

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On the mission front, meanwhile, teams at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station are targeting no earlier than 12:35 a.m. February 25 for the launch of Hispasat 30W-6, a commercial communications satellite, for Spain-based Hispasat. Per Space.com, experimental solutions have included parachutes and equipping recovery ships with metal arms that Musk has compared to a "catcher's mitt", with Musk saying that he expects to develop a solution to "fairing recovery in the next six months". He further stated that the fairing recovery process is hard since the detach fairings fall back to the surface. He further stated that the faring costs around $5 million.

In May, the company's vice president of satellite government affairs, Patricia Cooper, detailed its plans to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Technology. If the company will come out with a way to ruse this part it could reduce the cost. SpaceX will showcase the launch live on its website similar to how it showcased the launch of massive Falcon Heavy rocket last week. The rocket includes the first-stage booster.

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SpaceX is expected to launch two prototype satellites, called Microsat-2a and Microsat-2b, as part of its Starlink broadband satellite constellation. SpaceX could potentially milk that even more if it decides to enter the growing Earth-imaging market or find other tasks for its satellite fleet.

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