SpaceX has just launched a new batch of its new internet-delivery satellites into Earth’s orbit. Last month, the private aerospace manufacturing company announced that it had successfully launched 60 internet-delivery satellites using a Falcon 9 rocket from its launchpad at Cape Canaveral in Florida.
The newly launched satellites are part of SpaceX’s Starlink project. In 2015, SpaceX began the initial stages of Starlink with the goal of providing a fast and reliable internet service to consumers and businesses throughout the world. For the Starlink project, SpaceX is planning to build a network of low-orbit satellites that project internet service using radio waves. Each of the satellites will essentially beam internet service down to Earth, allowing consumers and businesses in even remote locations to receive internet access.
Of course, there are already several satellite-based internet services. As a result, you might be wondering what makes Starlink different from these existing services. While Starlink is still in the early stages of development, it could prove to be a game-changer for the internet service industry. Most internet-projecting satellites fly high in Earth’s orbit. SpaceX’s Starlink satellites, however, are designed to fly much lower in Earth’s orbit where they can offer faster speeds as well as more reliable connectivity.
If you’ve ever used satellite internet before, you probably know that it’s plagued by slow speeds and poor connectivity. You’ll get slower speeds when downloading and uploading data over a satellite internet service as opposed to a land-based internet service. Furthermore, you’ll experience more frequent connection drops and outages when using a satellite internet service. SpaceX is hoping to solve these problems with its Starlink project. Once complete, Starlink will consist of a network of many small satellites that project internet service from a low orbit. With their low-orbit flight, the satellites will offer faster speeds as well as better and more reliable connectivity.
So, how many internet-projecting satellites is SpaceX planning to launch? While the recent batch consisted of just 60 satellites, SpaceX is planning to launch around 12,000 satellites for the Starlink project by the mid-2020s. The company says it could expand the number of satellites to 42,000 if there’s a strong enough demand for the service.
Taking into account the recent batch of 60 satellites, SpaceX now has a network of nearly 180 Starlink satellites. Of course, that’s just a drop in the bucket when compared to the total number of satellites SpaceX plans to launch.