Published: Tue, May 14, 2019
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

Musk makes 420 joke as he teases 60 'Starlink' universal internet satellites

Musk makes 420 joke as he teases 60 'Starlink' universal internet satellites

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted a photo of the 60 satellites the company will be launching into space this week. Musk tweeted a picture of the satellites packed tight together inside the nosecone of the Falcon 9 rocket that will take the spacecraft to orbit. While the 60 satellites are production design, as Spacenews reports, SpaceX's president and chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell last week said they were still demonstration satellites that are missing the equipment to link up as a mesh network. Musk noted on Twitter that SpaceX will need to successfully complete at least twelve missions with 60 satellites in each mission (total of 720 satellites) to provide "moderate" coverage.

Starlink is an ambitious plan by SpaceX to deploy thousands of low earth orbit satellites to provide internet access to everyone on the globe.

This will not be SpaceX's first launch of the satellites.

Given that SpaceX is not exclusively dedicated to launching Starlink satellites, having various other contracts for commercial launches, it would be fair to estimate that Starlink is still years, possibly as long as 10 years or more, away from being fully deployed.

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According to Shotwell, the 60 satellites set to be launched are still prototypes.

What's more, a Starship designed for people may be poised to launch them to the moon and perhaps Mars.

Musk anticipates that "much will likely go wrong" during the first few missions. In total Musk has received permissions to launch nearly 12,000 satellites into space. They are amongst the several companies who are building these constellations of interconnected satellites to deliver high-speed internet from space. This first launch is really just a small part of a long process, and that's provided everything goes according to plan, according to the Engadget. OneWeb launched its first six satellites in February of this year.

It's unclear how many launches will be needed to get all the hardware up in orbit, and for now Musk only previewed 17 such missions.

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