SpaceX Starlink satellite launch delayed again for software update

SpaceX Starlink satellite launch delayed again for software update

SpaceX Starlink satellite launch delayed again for software update

The Starlink is hoped to have 12,000 satellites in total but this first launch is just a test run for the company.

This is Starlink, and it's finally happening.

Falcon 9 sits ready on the launchpad for the final Iridium NEXT mission. That's not unusual for a SpaceX rocket, though until now nearly all launches have been on behalf of other commercial partners.

A specific date and time for the launch was not mentioned by SpaceX.

SpaceX had planned to send the rocket into orbit on Wednesday evening, but that launch was scrubbed due to excessive high-level winds. That's the end-game. All you would need to use Starlink is a $200 pizza box-sized receiver.

In order to beam connectivity to the surface, a massive network of ground-based stations will also be necessary. Each satellite is equipped with a navigation system that allows SpaceX to precisely position the satellites, track orbiting debris and avoid collisions. This is not a new thing.

All consist of tiny satellites that orbit closer to Earth than traditional communications satellites, a radical shift made possible by leaps in laser technology and computer chips. Their distance from Earth means a lag of about a second or more.


SpaceX wrote on Twitter confirming the delay: "Standing down to update satellite software and triple-check everything again".

After several recent rounds of fundraising, SpaceX has enough capital to launch the first 400 satellites and begin selling the service to telecom companies and governments that want to serve low- and medium-density populated areas.

That could earn SpaceX an eye-watering $30 billion a year, more than ten times what rocket launches make, he added. Musk founded SpaceX in 2002 with a goal of colonising Mars.

When will Starlink be operational?

Around an hour into the mission, the satellites will be deployed. The 60 Starlink satellites are "flat-packed" in a Falcon 9 rocket and weight 18.5 tons taken together-each satellite weighs 227 kg or just over 500 lbs-and according to Musk, "each launch of 60 satellites will generate more power than [the International Space Station] & deliver 1 terabit of bandwidth to Earth". Actually, it probably does ... they're partly reusable, remember.

The constellation, informally known as Starlink, and under development at SpaceX's facilities in Redmond, Washington.

Far from it. The world of satellite broadband is hotting-up, and high-speed "space internet" is increasingly looking like the future. Expensive, regionally-locked yet fast satellite broadband services are incoming, while OneWeb - supported by Intelsat, Virgin Qualcomm, SoftBank and Hughes Networks Systems - intends to launch 640 satellites across 21 launches to create global broadband by 2020.

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