SpaceX launched two other mini satellites into orbit to assess the viability of its CEO Elon Musk's dream of creating the Starlink constellation - a network of satellites to deliver low-priced, high-speed internet globally.
Just two weeks after launching a Tesla Roadster vehicle into space in the maiden flight of the Falcon Heavy rocket (See: SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket blasts off carrying Musk's red Tesla Roadster), Elon Musk's SpaceX was back in action on Thursday, launching a Falcon 9 carrying a $200 million Spanish radar imaging satellite and two experimental internet relay stations, which will act as pathfinders for SpaceX's proposed mega-network of orbital broadband beacons. SpaceX also plans to test the satellites' communication paths using five stationary ground-based test stations and three mobile test vans, according to past filings with the Federal Communications Commission. When all the vital testing has been finished, the dispatch of operational satellites could start at some point in 2019.
Named Microsat-2a and Microsat-2b, the two satellites launched Thursday by SpaceX on one of its Falcon 9 rockets are prototypes.
SpaceX is one step closer to providing low-priced broadband internet access after launching the first two demonstration satellites for its planned satellite constellation early Thursday morning.
So one goal of Thursday's launch was to catch the rocket's "fairing," or nose cone - the covering that protects the rocket's payload - after it's deployed and falls to Earth.
With this failed landing, Musk believes that developing the nose cones with "slightly bigger chutes" would slow the descent down, allowing Mr. Steven to finally make a catch.
SpaceX initially proposed launching 4,425 satellites into orbit, with the first batch slated to take flight in 2019.
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Documents cited in media reports identify the satellites as part of a SpaceX program known as "Starlink, " which envisions an array of almost 12,000 satellites circling Earth within about six years, creating a worldwide internet system. (SpaceX) While the LEO Constellation will provide high-speed broadband service around the world, the VLEO Constellation is expected to enhance capacity by being able to focus on a narrower area.
Liftoff of a Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Hispasat 30W-6 spacecraft from Launch Complex 40 is targeted for 12:35 a.m. on February 25, the opening of a two-hour launch window, News 6 partner Florida Today, reported.
"We've got a special boat to catch the fairing".
Musk posted a video of the satellites being deployed on his social media accounts, dubbing them "Tintin A & B".
SpaceX is attempting to cut costs by reusing key rocket parts in its latest project. The cone, however, dropped just a few hundred meters away from the boat, but did land intact in the water and stayed afloat.
SpaceX rocket launch seen across.
To that end SpaceX has bought a recovery vessel, dubbed Mr Steven, which has a huge net stretched out over the ship's deck.