Elon Musk’s SpaceX launched the first two satellites of a constellation that will reach 12,000 devices in 2024. It is about creating an Internet network accessible from anywhere in the world.
Elon Musk does it too much? Maybe, but he usually keeps his promises. On February 22, SpaceX starts the Starlink mission. The boss of Space X sent the first two satellites known as Tintin A and Tintin B a constellation that will include 12,000. Objective: To provide access to the Internet from anywhere on the planet by 2024, the year in which the start of its Mars mission is also to begin. 4425 satellites will be put into orbit at an altitude of about 1300 km and 7500 will gravitate to 500 km.
Elon Musk had mentioned this project for the first time in 2015 and has not spoken about it since. In 2017, he filed the name Starlink stating that it was a satellite network to provide global broadband access without adding anything else. He even declined to talk about this mission at the launch of Falcon Heavy. But public documents sent recently to the Federal Telecommunications Commission (FCC) could not remain secret for very long.
Elon Musk against Jeff Bezos
The rocket launched from the Vandenberg military base in California at 9:14 am local time. On board, SpaceX’s two satellites Tintin A and Tintin B (Microsat-2a and Microsat-2b) was placed in non-stationary orbit at 500 km altitude. It also carried for Hisdesat, the Spanish satellite Paz that will be used to collect views of the Earth for government and commercial customers, as well as sensors for tracking ships and weather conditions.
The StarLink mission is going to be expensive. Its start-up cost is $ 10 billion, 10% of which was provided by Alphabet, the parent company of Google, and the Fidelity investment fund.
The race for the global Internet satellite is just beginning, even though other companies have made headway, such as OneWeb, which has partnered with Blue Origin, the company of Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, to create a constellation of nearly 1,000 satellites that will be operational in 2022. Virgin and Arianespace are also in the race.
The challenge is to provide broadband networks to more than half of the world’s population, which is still not connected and which, according to UNESCO, does not have the means to access terrestrial infrastructure. The challenge of Elon Musk is to offer the poorest free Internet.