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SpaceX launches first Starlink payload

Video Credit: Reuters - Politics - Duration: 02:11s - Published < > Embed
SpaceX launches first Starlink payload

SpaceX launches first Starlink payload

High-tech entrepreneur Elon Musk's SpaceX company launches a Falcon 9 rocket on a mission to carry the first batch of small satellites into low-Earth orbit for his new Starlink internet service.

Ryan Brooks reports.

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SpaceX launches first Starlink payload

SpaceX took the first step toward its orbiting Internet system late Thursday (May 24).

A Falcon-9 rocket launched from Florida's Cape Canaveral with a payload of 60 small satellites.

Eventually Elon Musk wants to put 12,000 up there.

This will be the Starlink network: one day it could beam high-speed internet to customers around the world.

Eric Johnson covers aerospace for Reuters.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS AEROSPACE CORRESPONDENT ERIC M.

JOHNSON, SAYING: "Constellations in low-Earth orbit represent a radical shift in the telecommunications industry because the satellites are smaller, cheaper to build and easier to replace.

Musk's Starlink project represents a colossal undertaking.

Not only does the company have to build thousands of these tiny satellites and actually get them into orbit, but he also faces stiff competition from a number of companies, ranging from Airbus-backed OneWeb to Canada's TeleSat, all building their own competing networks.

'Small satellites' is a relative term here each one actually weighs 500 pounds.

So this is the heaviest cargo carried by any SpaceX rocket so far.

The satellites can orbit closer to Earth thanks to advances in lasers and computer chips.

Starlink is worth the effort for Musk he said last week it could grab 3-5 percent of the $1 trillion in revenue he estimates Internet connectivity generates worldwide, every year.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS AEROSPACE CORRESPONDENT ERIC M.

JOHNSON, SAYING: "Starlink is crucial to the billionaire entrepreneur's plans because he needs an extra source of revenue to achieve his grander ambitions, including building a starship to take paying customers to the moon, and eventually colonizing Mars." But before all that, Musk has said he needs at least 12 launches carrying similar payloads to to achieve constant internet coverage of most of the world.

Currently its only authorized for operations in the U.S. Musk says as many as 2,000 satellites will be launched a year and that SpaceX will begin approaching customers for his almost-anywhere Internet later this year or in 2020.




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