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SpaceX CEO Elon Musk explained on Wednesday how the company’s Starlink satellite network will serve as the company’s key money-maker, unlocking his vision of sending astronauts to Mars.
Musk’s comments came on a call with media hours before the company’s first full launch of Starlink satellites. For once, Musk spoke to the network’s timeline along with gave details about how the company’s satellites work. Musk also confirmed of which SpaceX has the capital required to complete the project’s first major phase.
Starlink represents the company’s ambitious plan to build an interconnected internet satellite network, also known as a “constellation,” to beam high-speed internet to anywhere on the planet. The full Starlink network would certainly consist of 11,943 satellites flying close to the planet, closer than the International Space Station, in what is actually known as low Earth orbit.
“We see This kind of as a way for SpaceX to generate revenue of which can be used to develop more along with more advanced rockets along with spaceships,” Musk said.
“We believe we can use the revenue by Starlink to fund Starship,” Musk added.
SpaceX has built along with launched its Falcon series of rockets more than 70 times. While the rockets rank among the most powerful within the planet, Musk’s ultimate vision is actually to send humans to live on Mars – which requires even larger rockets. of which’s where Starship, the massive rocket SpaceX has begun testing over the last few months, comes in.
Starship is actually designed to be a fully reusable launch system, along with is actually intended to transport as many as 100 people at a time to along with by the moon or Mars.
On the call Wednesday, Musk clarified of which SpaceX’s recent fundraising rounds “have been oversubscribed.” He said SpaceX has the funding needed to build along with launch enough Starlink satellites to begin using the network.
“At This kind of point of which looks like we have sufficient capital to get to an operational level,” Musk said.
Musk shared a photo of the 60 Starlink satellites on Saturday after they were packed into the nosecone of the Falcon 9 rocket.
SpaceX “Starlink” satellites stacked inside the nosecone of its rocket before launch.
@ElonMusk on Twitter
SpaceX launched two demonstration satellites in February 2018, although much of the program — along with the satellites’ design — remained unknown. Although Musk fired the head of the Starlink program – a vice president who Jeff Bezos promptly hired to develop a similar network – in June, SpaceX has continued to advance the program quickly. In filings with the Federal Communications Commission, SpaceX noted a few improvements to its plans. SpaceX also submitted an application This kind of year to operate 1 million “earth stations” within the U.S., key to connecting the satellites to the ground.
Musk said SpaceX will need six more launches, with 60 satellites per launch, to get “minor coverage” for the internet network. A dozen launches, or 720 satellites, would certainly bump the network to “moderate” coverage,” he added.
“This kind of is actually one of the hardest engineering projects I’ve ever seen done,” Musk said.
He went into more technical details about the satellites’ design along with capabilities than previously disclosed. Each Starlink satellite has “about a terabit of useful connectivity,” Musk said. The satellites will “automatically maneuver around any orbital debris,” he said, to avoid collisions in space.
“There’s a lot of fresh technology on the satellite,” Musk said.
The company will continue to develop along with advance Starlink as the program continues, Musk promised. SpaceX plans to rapidly deploy Starlink, scaling its production along with launch rate to between 1,000 satellites to 2,000 satellites per year. If SpaceX is actually able to stick to its current Starlink schedule, Musk said “SpaceX will possess the majority of satellites” in orbit around the Earth within two years.
SpaceX represents one of several of these constellations in development, competing with Softbank-backed OneWeb, Amazon’s Project Kuiper, Canadian operator Telesat along with more. These ambitious satellite networks will require intensive capital, with some industry officials estimating costs running as high as $5 billion.
The satellite constellations expect to offer broadband speeds comparable to fiber optic networks, according to federal documents, by essentially creating a blanket connection across the electromagnetic spectrum. The satellites would certainly offer fresh direct-to-consumer wireless connections, rather than the present system’s redistribution of signals.
Musk said SpaceX does not think of which is actually “going to be displacing” traditional, ground-based telecommunications networks with Starlink. Instead, he thinks the space-based network “will actually work well” with telecommunications companies because of which reaches sparsely populated regions. While Starlink “has not signed up any customers,” Musk said SpaceX is actually talking to “possible strategic partners,” such as telecommunications companies.