SpaceX launches first government satellite, lands booster

SpaceX to kick off 4,425-strong satellite constellation launch in 2019

Mike Brown Reuters

SpaceX is now planning on launching the first prototype of the broadband-providing satellite into space by the end of 2017 and a second prototype during early 2018. Looking to level the playing field, SpaceX plans to launch high-speed, reliable and affordable broadband internet to users in the USA and around the world.

According to Patricia Cooper, SpaceX vice president of satellite Government Affairs, the mission to provide "high speed" internet to "hard-to-reach" parts of the world will begin in 2019.

Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) has successfully launched a spy satellite in support of the United States military from a Falcon 9 rocket at Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Florida. For the network to reach its full capacity, the company would officially be sending these satellites in phases till the year 2024, The Verge reports. And it is bold, considering the total number of satellites orbiting the Earth is now 1,459, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Space X has also won two more contracts from the US Air Force to send up Global Positioning System satellites in 2018 an 2019.

Satellites in Space
Satellites in Space

Elon Musk backed SpaceX has revealed its plans to launch thousands of satellites using Falcon 9 rockets.

"The U.S. lags behind other developed nations in both its broadband speed and in price competitiveness, and many rural areas are simply not served by traditional broadband providers due to the high capital expenditure required for last-mile infrastructure relative to low revenue opportunities", Cooper said in her testimony. This plan will put 4,425 satellites into Earth's orbit, says Cooper. Landing, refurbishing and reusing rockets is key to the company's vision of making space travel increasingly affordable. Another prototype will also be launched in early 2018. Once in orbit, the satellites will be flexible - able to focus and direct bandwidth to where it's needed most.

"And we have touchdown", a SpaceX commentator said on a live webcast as cheers broke out at mission control.

The FCC is now considering a rule that SpaceX believes would remove regulatory obstacles to deploying internet-providing satellites. The first video shows a close-up of the rocket separating from the satellite, as well as what Musk calls a "fast flip", a "boostback burn in a ring of fire", and finally the engines burning to slow the rocket down for landing. OneWeb, a consortium with backing from Airbus, Virgin Galactic and other partners, aims to start launching satellites within the next two years.

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