SpaceX to launch its first 60 internet-beaming satellites this week

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For the past couple of years SpaceX has noted its desire to beam down internet from satellites in the Earth’s atmosphere, better known as Starlink, has taken a few small steps towards completion.

Now the project is set to launch later this week, with mercurial founder Elon Musk sharing some pictures via Twitter (his platform of choice) of the first 60 satellites that the company plans to send into orbit. More specifically the firm plans to launch either 14th or 15th May, provided the conditions at the launch site are favourable.

Said satellites are packed tightly, as you can see in the tweet below, on one of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets. Musk also adds that the firm needs to perform a further six launches of this type in order to have enough satellites in orbit to deliver “minor” broadband coverage.

To create a network with moderate coverage, Musk says almost twice as many satellites in orbit. By our calculations that means Starlink would need to have a network of 840 satellites to beam down the required internet connectivity to areas where penetration is limited.

The ultimate goal of Starlink, however, is to have 11 000 satellites in orbit by the middle of next year, which means that air space is going to get even more crowded in the coming months.

With internet penetration worryingly low in parts of Africa and South America, we’re hoping that SpaceX and its project Starlink will be able to provide access to those who need it most, and stand to benefit from it.

That though, remains to be seen. For now we need to see how many successful launches Space X can muster during the rest of the year.

[Image – SpaceX]

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.