SpaceX launched a batch of 60 satellites from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Thursday night. More than an hour later, some 270 miles above Earth, the satellite cluster— part of the Starlink system — pushed off the rocket that carried it into orbit. The individual satellites started to drift slowly towards their unique journeys over the planet.
SpaceX hopes by next year that hundreds of devices will be able to circle the planet, beaming high-speed internet service everywhere. It could allow SpaceX to enter a new business where revenue could be generated to finance the dream of sending people to Mars.
Early on Friday morning, Elon Musk, the company’s founder and chief executive, said all 60 satellites were “online.”
The Starlink satellites will eventually form a constellation of satellites offering internet to almost anywhere on Earth.
The Starlink satellites will orbit much lower — over the surface between 210 and 710 miles. This reduces laggy or latency. SpaceX said that the performance should be comparable to the ground-based cable and optical fiber networks that currently carry most internet traffic. Starlink would provide high-speed Internet to parts of the world that are largely cut off from the modern digital world at the moment.
They travel faster because the satellites are lower. Starlink must therefore provide a constellation of whizzing satellites around the planet. When one satellite moves away from one of its customers, in order to provide a continuous internet connection, another must be seen.