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Elon Musk shares image of 60 SpaceX satellites packed on Falcon 9 rocket
The satellites will be the first set to be deployed for Starlink project.
SpaceX founder Elon Musk has shared an image of the first batch of internet satellites that will be launched from Cape Canaveral in the coming days. The 60 satellites will be the first deployment for Musk's ambitious Starlink project which will place 12,000 satellites in the Low-Earth orbit (LEO).
The primary aim of the project is to create a broadband network that will be capable of providing high-speed internet at a low cost. Musk is a series of tweets posted an image of the 60 satellites packed on the nose of the Falcon 9 rocket that will carry them to the Earth's orbit. Musk described it as a "tight fit."
He also addressed that there's a possibility that "much will likely go wrong on the 1st mission." The event will be followed by six more launches each with 60 satellites which will be required for "minor" internet coverage, and 12 more launches for "moderate" coverage.
Basically, the space company will deploy 4,425 Starlink satellites into low-Earth orbit followed by an additional 7,518 satellites. The higher satellites will operate at an altitude between 690 miles to 823 miles and will act as the strongest pillar of the Starlink broadband service.
The other set of satellites will be deployed between 208 miles and 215 miles and will boost the capacity and lower latency, especially in areas which are densely populated. SpaceX estimates the entire Starlink project will cost around $10 billion.
Earlier, this plan faced a lot of skepticism as it would leave a lot of debris in the LEO. In 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was asked to find a solution for this debris along with the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) and NASA.
Later, SpaceX confirmed that it will place the satellite on a lower orbit of around 550km. The company also promised that it will also de-orbit satellites within 5-7 years of their EoL date.