As the network of Starlink satellites gets built up in space, most places on Earth could gain access to high-speed, low-latency, and affordable internet connections that rival the speed of those found in well-wired cities.
Musk said that data was out of date, and that the company's recent funding rounds have been "oversubscribed". According to Elon Musk, this is the heaviest payload ever for SpaceX, and each launch will "deliver 1 terabit of bandwidth to the Earth". Approximately one hour and two minutes after liftoff, the Starlink satellites will begin deployment at an altitude of 440km. You'll be able to watch the rocket launch, attempted return of the Falcon 9 to SpaceX's drone ship, and eventually the deployment of the satellites themselves.
Elon Musk tweeted an image of the 60 satellites that will be packed into the Falcon 9.
"Much will likely go wrong" on this mission, Musk said in a tweet.
We all know how Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, loves to break the news on Twitter.
Musk said SpaceX would like to keep Starlink satellites in orbit for four to five years before deorbiting and replacing them with newer, more capable models.
The Federal Communications Commission initially authorized SpaceX to launch and operate a constellation of 4,425 non-geostationary orbit satellites in March of past year, then approved an additional 7,518 in November. It could even set SpaceX up to beat out competitors like Amazon and SoftBank-backed OneWeb, which each want to form internet constellations of their own. "We can use the revenue from Starlink to fund Starship". There are options for satellite-based internet, but those services are notoriously slow, expensive or unreliable.
In a statement, Amazon said that its program, known as Project Kuiper, is created to bring broadband to "unserved and underserved communities around the world".
If these challenges can be overcome, Musk says, Starlink could provide significant benefits over now available services. In November, the entrepreneur, frustrated with the pace at which Starlink satellites were being developed, fired at least seven people on the program's senior management team at a campus in Redmond, Washington, outside of Seattle, Reuters reported.
One of those ousted was Rajeev Badyal, who had joined SpaceX from Microsoft Corp.in 2014 and was vice president of satellites.
That's a staggering figure - more than twice the total number of operational satellites that were in orbit in January 2015.
Getting tens, hundreds, or thousands of satellites into space and operational "is no small feat", he said.
Musk said his company has a similar goal to connect the disconnected. He noted there are already companies, including Iridium Communications Inc., SES SA, Viasat Inc., Inmarsat Plc and Hughes Network Systems LLC that are now providing global broadband services from space.