Elon Musk's rocket company, SpaceX, is preparing to launch the first 60 of nearly 12,000 internet-delivering satellites orbit and you can watch the launch live.
At the weekend, Musk shared an image of the spacecraft wrapped in the nose of a Falcon 9 rocket. The 230-foot-high vehicle is supposed to lift between 10:30 AM tonight. and midnight ET. A weather forecast from the US Air Force on Tuesday suggests that SpaceX has an 80% chance of getting the rocket off the ground.
SpaceX is the bill for the launch, which, according to Musk, is experimental in nature.
"A lot will probably go wrong on the 1st mission," he tweeted on Saturday.
To save what can be tens of millions of dollars, SpaceX relies on a twice-launched 16-floor rocket amplifier that previously helped to orbit commercial satellites in September and January. Musk said the Starlink launch will also reuse streamline hoods – clamshell-like halves that are part of the nose cone of a rocket – that flew on a April 11 launch.
SpaceX successfully tested the engines of its Falcon 9 rocket on Mondayand the mission awaits launch at Space Launch Complex-40 in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
If there is a delay due to the weather, a boat entering a danger zone or some sort of technical malfunction, SpaceX has room to retry the launch 24 hours later.
SpaceX broadcasts live video of the launch from about 15 minutes before the launch. You can watch the rocket launch with the YouTube player below.
What Starlink is and why it matters
SpaceX plans to complete its Starlink by 2027 – the deadline for full implementation, issued by the Federal Communications Commission.
In its final form, Starlink consists of nearly 12,000 satellites – six times as many as all operational spacecraft currently in orbit – in different orbits. Each satellite would link to four others via laser beams, creating a robust mesh network around the earth.
The goal is to use that network to direct internet traffic close to the speed that the light passes through a vacuum (which is about 50% faster than the light can go through glass in fiber optic cables).
The first 60 satellites, each weighing around 227 kilograms, are not a definitive design. But they are so close that SpaceX can test different key technologies that are needed to make Starlink work.
As the Starlink satellite network is built in space, most places on Earth could gain access to fast, low-latency and affordable internet connections that match the speed of those in well-wired cities. Even a partial deployment of Starlink would benefit the financial sector and bring widespread broadband internet to rural and remote areas.
Project completion may cost $ 10 billion or more, according to Gwynne Shotwell, the president and chief operating officer of SpaceX. But corporate documents leaked to The Wall Street Journal and suggest that Starlink's sales could go up to more than $ 30 billion a year.
"This is the most exciting new network we've seen in a long time," Mark Handley, a computer network researcher at University College London, who studied Starlink, told Business Insider earlier. He added that the project can affect the lives of & # 39; possibly everyone & # 39 ;.