You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

SpaceX Plans Next Starlink Satellite Launch for Internet Service

U.S. News & World Report logo U.S. News & World Report 3 days ago Cecelia Smith-Schoenwalder
Elon Musk wearing a suit and tie: SpaceX founder Elon Musk addresses the media during a press conference announcing new developments of the Crew Dragon reusable spacecraft, at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California on October 10, 2019. (Photo by Philip Pacheco / AFP) (Photo by PHILIP PACHECO/AFP via Getty Images) © PHILIP PACHECO/AFP via Getty Images SpaceX founder Elon Musk addresses the media during a press conference announcing new developments of the Crew Dragon reusable spacecraft, at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California on October 10, 2019. (Photo by Philip Pacheco / AFP) (Photo by PHILIP PACHECO/AFP via Getty Images)

SpaceX will next week attempt to launch its second round of satellites to one day provide fast, affordable internet to Earth – a project that has drawn backlash over its potential impacts on astronomy.

On Monday morning, the space company run by Elon Musk will end its three-month dry spell of ground-based launches at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida by launching 60 satellites on a Falcon 9 rocket. The company sent its first batch of internet satellites into space in May.

The satellites are part of Starlink, a SpaceX project authorized to launch about 12,000 low orbit satellites to eventually provide internet to remote areas of the world. The company said it will be able to provide minor internet coverage if it completes five more launches in 2019, though it's not clear how many launches the company can accomplish before the year's end. The project could start offering broadband services in the U.S. by mid-2020, according to SpaceX.

While SpaceX has 12,000 Starlink satellites approved, it recently filed paperwork indicating it wants to launch up to 30,000 more. Roughly 2,000 active satellites are currently orbiting Earth.

Many have urged SpaceX to proceed with caution as the effects of the unprecedented project play out.

Astronomers are concerned the massive array of satellites could impede their work. Musk has promised the company will "make sure Starlink has no material effect on discoveries in astronomy," though he didn't give any details. Others have raised concerns about how the satellites could change the look of the night sky.

Although Musk hasn't released prices for the service, he said the venture could help fund future space missions. In an effort to cut costs, SpaceX has designed elements of its launches to be reusable. This launch will reuse a booster for the fourth time and a nose cone previously picked up in the Atlantic Ocean by the company's recovery vessel, known as "Ms.Tree."

Musk tested the project's capabilities last month, tweeting: "Sending this tweet through space via Starlink satellite." He then posted, "Whoa, it worked!!"

The 11-minute launch window begins Monday at 9:51 a.m.

Copyright 2019 U.S. News & World Report

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from U.S. News & World Report

U.S. News & World Report
U.S. News & World Report
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon