Starlink also has a lot of dollars-and-cents significance for SpaceX.
In all, each Starlink satellite is equipped with multiple high-throughput antennas, a single solar array, and (crucially) Hall thrusters powered by krypton - all created to bring low-latency, high-throughput internet services to every part of the world. Starlink is only now authorized for operations in the United States.
SpaceX completed the Demo-1 flight of its "Crew Dragon" without humans on board in March.
Subsequent generations of Starlinks already under construction will be completely disposable, with 100% of the craft burning up in the atmosphere at the end of its lifetime.
The launch, which was meant to take place last week, was delayed twice after inclement weather and additional checks prompted SpaceX to hold off. The spaceflight will be broadcast via the space company's website and YouTube.
SpaceX geared up Thursday for another attempt to launch the first 60 of the company's Starlink internet relay satellites. The only difference will be that this first batch will not have the capability to communicate with each other while they are in orbit. Subsequent launches would carry around 60 satellites after that.
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The 550 km orbital shell, as it is known, is the middle of three orbital shells planned for the overall Starlink constellation. Global coverage would be possible with 1,000 to 2,000 satellites, he said.
With each Starlink satellite weighing in at 227 kg (500.5 lb), the total payload mass from just the Starlinks, not counting the adapter and deployment mechanisms, comes in at an impressive 13,620 kg (30,027 lb).
Musk is only tepidly optimistic that Starlink will be a success.
Starlink and Falcon 9 are looking good, and winds are better for tonight's launch. "Standing down to update satellite software and triple-check everything again", SpaceX said in a tweet announcing the postponement.
The rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at about 10:30 p.m. local time.
From the pad @NASASpaceflight update. Mr. Musk stated that reaching the target of 12000 satellites would be a highly successful outcome but that target is yet to be reached as COO Gwynne stated that there are likely to be between three to seven launches of Starlink satellites this year.
SpaceX has authorization from the Federal Communications Commission to put for more than 11,000 satellites in low Earth orbit, but Musk says the Starlink service should be useful for internet service once there are 400 satellites in the constellation.