SpaceX postpones Starlink satellite launch again, for 'about a week'

SpaceX delayed for at least a week the first test launch of their production model Starlink satellites over an unspecified software issue.

This is Starlink, and it's finally happening.

Departing Pad 40 in Cape Canaveral, Florida during w/c May 20, 2019 (check here for the exact time ... it's been delayed twice already) will be a Falcon 9 reusable rocket loaded with 60 flat-packed satellites each weighing 227kg.

SpaceX announced the launch will not happen on Thursday. SpaceX did the smart thing and pushed the launch to the following day in the same time window, but things fell apart for an entirely different reason.

Wednesday night's delay was weather-related, with less-than-ideal high level winds that made a rocket launch particularly risky. Frustrated with the pace at which Starlink satellites were being developed, he fired at least seven members of the program's senior management team at a campus in Redmond, Washington, outside Seattle, Reuters reported.

The company recently filed plans with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to launch 4,425 satellites into orbit above the Earth - three times as many that are now in operation.

In order to beam connectivity to the surface, a massive network of ground-based stations will also be necessary. If there are significant problems with the rollout or performance of the first 400 satellites, he said SpaceX would probably have to go back to the capital markets.

Because the satellites will be in low orbit, they will be able to provide faster internet connections than most satellites used for internet at higher orbits.

These low orbit satellites are between 99 to 1,200 miles from Earth instead of the traditional 22,000 miles for geostationary satellites, Gizmodo reported. Their distance from Earth means a lag of about a second or more. In a tweet, SpaceX offered this explanation: "Standing down to update satellite software and triple-check everything again".

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Why is SpaceX getting into "space internet"?

That makes Starlink key to generating the cash that SpaceX needs to fund Musk's larger dream of developing new spacecraft capable of flying paying customers to the moon and eventually trying to colonize Mars.

Though constructing Starlink could cost over US$10 billion, there's evidence that SpaceX expects Starlink could earn it US$30 billion each year by 2025.

Musk said SpaceX would begin approaching customers later this year or next year.

When will Starlink be operational?

The deployment, about an hour after launch, will be fascinating to watch, and we are eager to know how successful the company and the Air Force will be at connecting with and tracking these satellites. Earlier this week we saw an image of the Falcon 9 packed with the first 60 of SpaceX's Starlink satellites.

He said that the mission will be the heaviest payload SpaceX has ever launched at 18.5 tons.

That helps explain why SpaceX has chose to start launching Starlink now. If all goes well, each launch of 60 satellites will generate more power than the International Space Station and deliver one terabit of bandwidth to Earth.

Far from it. The world of satellite broadband is hotting-up, and high-speed "space internet" is increasingly looking like the future.

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