When you think of Internet providers you don’t think of SpaceX, but that needs to change today. SpaceX has just successfully launched their latest rocket and the payload this time was a package of their own.
SpaceX has just deployed the first 60 Satellites, the start of their massive Starlink network that will eventually see the company launch 12,000 satellites. This network of satellites is designed to blanket the world with high-speed internet and has an estimated cost of US$10 billion.
The project is an interesting prospect, one that could deliver high-speed internet to people across Australia (and the world). In Australia’s context, it could provide the most comprehensive coverage ever, while also directly competing with the Government’s NBN.
The details of the Starlink Satellites are:
- Flat-panel design with multiple high-throughput antennas and a single solar array
- Mass: 227 kg (500 lb)
- Hall-effect thrusters using krypton as the reaction mass, for position adjustment on orbit, altitude maintenance and deorbit
- Star tracker navigation system for precision pointing
- Operational altitude of 550 km
- 95% of “all components of this design will quickly burn in Earth’s atmosphere at the end of each satellite’s lifecycle”
Once again the company proved themselves as a space superpower, not only successfully launching, but deploying and also returning the booster back to ground safely.
Falcon 9’s first stage landed without incident on the drone ship known as ‘Of course I still love you’.
This was the first time a booster has been reused for the third time, a key part of SpaceX’s strategy in reducing the cost of going to Space.
Here’s an animation of what the satellite looks like with it’s solar array extended.
And now here’s a video of the actual deployment of 60 Starlink satellites.