Elon Musk’s company SpaceX will launch 12,000 satellites in 9 years

18 November, 2018, 03:25 | Author: Sammy Rose
  • A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base in October 2018.                  Getty Images

Musk has said: "It would be like rebuilding the Internet in space".

In April, a prototype satellite dubbed RemoveDEBRIS was launched into orbit by the European Commission and a number of private partners to test a space trash removal effort that involves capturing debris with a harpoon and net, Sputnik reported.

These 11,943 satellites - between 220 and 1,100 pounds in size - will form the expansive Starlink broadband network, created to provide worldwide high speed internet access by ensuring that at least one satellite is always above the horizon for anyone on Earth.

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said the constellations that advanced today are evidence of a major shift in space activities, since the number of approved satellites almost equals the 8,126 objects that have been launched into space since Sputnik in 1957.

To recall, there are now 1,886 other satellites orbiting around Earth in August, according to a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists policy group. The first 4,425 satellite will form the backbone of Starlink and the remaining will boost capacity. With such claims, the company will easily beat the current cable or fiber internet connectivity. The FCC's approval for SpaceX shows a much grander vision than what SpaceX talked about before. According to those conditions, the company has to launch 50 percent of its proposed satellites within six years.

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An artist's conception shows a constellation of satellites in orbit. The first batch will orbit at around 700 miles up, but the second, larger batch will be very close to the Earth: only 200 miles above our heads, Ars Technica noted. The FCC also gave permission to Kepler Communications Inc., Telesat Canada Inc. and LeoSat Enterprises Inc.to launch 140, 117 and 78 satellites, respectively.

Starlink is aiming to provide internet access anywhere on the globe via an array of low earth orbit satellites deployed at altitudes ranging from 715 to 823 miles. The company already has permission to launch 4425 Satellite. This approval alone adds at least 7,859 satellites into orbit. Looking at the size of SpaceX's constellation, the chances of collision increases largely.

The race by so many companies to build new satellite constellations has many policymakers concerned about proliferating space objects.

Authorisation comes as SpaceX successfully launched its 18th rocket into space from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Thursday, with a Falcon 9 rocket lifting Qatar's Es'hail 2 communications satellite into orbit. If everything goes as planned, we'll soon be able to witness a high-speed internet not only in urban areas but also in rural locations.

The different orbital altitudes are meant to provide a mix of wide-angle and tightly focused transmission beams for global broadband access.

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