Elon Musk has a lot of plans for the future, but one of the most ambitious of them is to create a constellation of satellites that could offer the entire world broadband internet access. Known as “Starlink,” the long-term plan of the company is, by the mid-2020s, to deploy over 12,000 internet satellites to Low Earth Orbit (LEO).
Even though SpaceX and Musk received severe dismissal and criticism, during the recent years, they have taken some significant steps to get the ball rolling on this proposal. In addition to that, an official statement from the company that was recently released mass production is well underway, and there is a launch scheduled for May 2019 for the first batch of operational satellites are already in Florida.
This news comes right after approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been received by the company to launch satellites to a lower orbit than initially specified. SpaceX originally intended to launch 4,425 satellites to non-geostationary orbits (NGSO) ranging from 680 and 800 mi (1100 and 1300 km), which would help transmit in the Ku- and Ka-radio bands.
However, because other satellite internet providers are still in the competition, SpaceX made the decision to expedite their plans and presented a modified plan to the FCC. This took place last year in Fall when the first batch has been announced by the company to be launched to a lower altitude –340 mi (550 kilometers), starting in May of 2019. In addition to that, they also suggested that the design of this batch would be simplified and transmit only in the Ku-band.
As the altitude is lowered, the company will be able to send more satellites into orbit sooner and the risk posed by “space junk” will also be minimized. The Falcon 9rockets that will be deploying the satellites will not only be allowed by the lower insertion orbit to carry heavier payloads, but the transmissions times will also be shorter.