In November, the FCC gave SpaceX permission to launch the two spacecraft and test its space-based internet concept. “Imagine you had $6 million in cash in a palette flying through the air, and it’s going to smash into the ocean”, Musk said.
But Thursday’s launch used a Falcon 9, the rocket SpaceX has flown since 2010. The primary payload on Falcon 9 rocket is the 3,000-pound Paz. “Falcon 9’s first stage for the PAZ mission previously supported the FORMOSAT-5 mission from SLC-4E in August 2017”.
The rocket also carried a pair of SpaceX’s own broadband satellites as a secondary payload. It’s successfully completed the task after more than 20 launches.
The launch was originally scheduled for February 17 but it was pushed so that the ground crew could conduct more system checks. If it can reduce or eliminate that by reusing fairings as often as possible, that’s a big savings and a key ingredient towards SpaceX’s broader goals of efficient, reusable rockets.
SpaceX continued: “Payload and vehicle remain healthy”. That represents nearly 10 percent of the $62 million list price for a standard Falcon 9 launch.
The third delay occurred Wednesday morning due to strong upper level winds.
The Falcon 9 lifted off at 6:17 a.m. Thursday and climbed into the dawn sky over the Pacific Ocean west of Los Angeles. Small, but better to be paranoid.
If the test proves successful, the firm will continue to launch broadband satellites over the next five years, and aims to reach “full capacity with 4,425 satellites in 2024”, Ars Technica adds.
It will also have a similar mission to provide high-resolution radar coverage for both government and commercial use. “Even if these satellites work as planned, we still have considerable technical work ahead of us to design and deploy a low-Earth satellite constellation”.
If SpaceX gets approval for its satellite project, it’ll be a first for an American-based company to join the race to provide internet via Low-Earth Orbit satellites, FCC Chairman Pai said. The company declined to go into details of the entire project, but the application says that the “army” of satellites will be deployed in low earth orbit within 684 miles and 823 miles.
According to reports, The company with the help of Elon Musk’s vision wants to create a giant constellation of almost 12,000 satellites that will orbit above Earth, allowing internet connectivity to antenna receivers on the planet’s surface.