SpaceX's broadband satellites to beam down 'Hello Earth' from orbit


Breaking from its usual routine, SpaceX will not be recovering the Falcon 9 being used in this particular launch.

Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX and CEO of Tesla (TSLA), tweeted that the satellites, dubbed Tintin A & B, have been deployed and are communicating with stations on earth. Today's launch was the beginning of their planned 12,000 satellite constellation which will beam Internet down to nearly anywhere on Earth.

In past missions these have fallen back to Earth and sunk, but Musk said at the Falcon Heavy launch that he wanted to get a system in place to reuse them. This synthetic-aperture radar satellite was commisioned by Hisdesat, a Spanish commercial satellite company, for governmental and commercial use.

Earlier this month, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai gave his endorsement to SpaceX's application to operate two huge constellations of broadband satellites.

SpaceX wants to deploy the additional satellites to reduce latency to as low as 25 and 35 milliseconds, better numbers than an ADSL connection and similar rates to a cable connection.

If successful, the two prototype satellites will help pave the way for SpaceX's plans to launch almost 12,000 satellites to low Earth orbit as soon as 2024.

According to the open files between SpaceX and the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), in the coming years, the private U.S. space firm hopes to create a giant constellation of about 12,000 of interlinked broadband-internet satellites that will orbit in a synchronized dance above the Earth, delivering broadband access anywhere in the world. According to a tally by the Union of Concerned Scientists, there are 1,738 satellites now orbiting the Earth.

Watching a rocket launch is something very interesting and exciting, so, if you haven't yet watched one, now is the moment.

At 7:14 am, Musk tweeted an update about the attempted retrieval, indicating that the fairings had landed in the ocean a few hundred meters from where Mr. Steven was waiting to catch them. The rocket fairing costs $6M per launch so it makes sense to try and reuse that has well to further drive down launch costs. "Should be able catch it with slightly bigger chutes to slow down descent".

These fairings were separated from the rocket at about three minutes after launch.

There, on a calm blue sea, a boat with a giant net made an audacious, if unsuccessful, attempt to catch them.