SpaceX to launch 60 satellites to deliver internet from space

On May 15 SpaceX is launching 60 Starlink internet satellites from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida

A rocket with the first 60 Starlink satellites was due to blast off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 10:30 p.m.

In a call with reporters before Wednesday's countdown was halted, the high-tech entrepreneur praised the "fundamental goodness" of his ambitions to expand internet connectivity globally but cautioned that success was far from guaranteed.

Musk said he was well aware of that history.

Musk said SpaceX plans to launch roughly 60 satellites at a time as it builds out its constellation.

In the past, others have tried and failed to do just what SpaceX, OneWeb and others are hoping to accomplish.

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Musk said SpaceX would begin approaching customers later this year or next year.

According to Elon Musk, the Starlink satellites that had been packed into the rocket, were not prototypes as was the case with earlier tests but rather production satellites.

If these challenges can be overcome, Musk says, Starlink could provide significant benefits over now available services.

According to a filing last month with the Securities and Exchange Commission, SpaceX sought to raise $400 million, but had only raised $44 million as of the filing, required 15 days after the round opens.

Musk said Starlink's newest 60 satellites carry phased array antennas and ion propulsion units that run on krypton instead of the typical xenon gas. That leaves extremely rural or impoverished communities without affordable access. Current internet satellites struggle to provide this because many are in very high geostationary orbits-around 22,000 miles above the Earth's equator-meaning that data takes a relatively long time to travel between the surface and back, The Verge reported. There are options for satellite-based internet, but those services are notoriously slow, expensive or unreliable.

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The goal of the program is to make the satellites reachable from any place on Earth thus providing broadband internet service to all parts of the globe.

Amazon also recently confirmed it plans to put up a constellation of its own, adding yet another high-profile billionaire, Jeff Bezos, to what has become a new space race.

SpaceX will have to wait at least one more day to start setting up its internet-satellite megaconstellation. Provided everything goes as planned, the launch will pave the way for a satellite megaconstellation that will eventually contain over 12,000 of the miniature internet-providing boxes of future tech.

That's a staggering figure - more than twice the total number of operational satellites that were in orbit in January 2015.

The US Federal Communications Commission has approved 13,000 new satellites in the a year ago - six times more than the figure now in orbit. OneWeb and Amazon are the big ones, but there are also lesser known companies, like LeoSat and Telesat.

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