Here's What We Know About the New SpaceX Satellites

September 7, 2013 – 12:01 pm

Image via SpaceX

SpaceX revealed new details of its plans to launch its own network of satellites in an application it filed with the FCC last week.

The satellites, which are supposed to provide Internet access for regions with poor or no service currently, will be built and launched using some of the $1 billion SpaceX raised from Google. There are a lot of interesting details in the application, which was necessary because of the broadcast testing SpaceX plans to do, much of the extrapolation was done by enthusiasts on Reddit, which first the application.

The two satellites it describes in the application will only be the first of up to eight demonstration satellites that SpaceX will send up, each with an expected lifetime of 6 to 12 months. The point of the test is to see if the broadband antenna platform will work to beam Internet access down to Earth. The test results will be used to build the final version of the satellites.

Based on the orbital parameters submitted, they'll likely launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base rather than Cape Canaveral, beaming down information to three different locations; Redmond, Wa., Fremont, Ca. and Hawthorne, Ca. Hawthorne is where SpaceX's headquarter is, while SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has already said he wants to set set up a headquarters in Seattle for building satellites and planning launches. The Fremont location is the Tesla Motors factory, another company Musk heads and another sign of how him using Tesla to support SpaceX.

Of course, even if the tests go smoothly it may be a while before anyone logs on to SpaceX-provided Internet. Getting the spectrum licensing from the FCC to beam down broadband Internet may take longer than launching the satellites. That won't be the only thing they are useful for though. Musk's long-term goals for a SpaceX Mars mission will need the best communications possible and its own network of satellites in Earth orbit would be a big help in that regard.


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  • avatar When is the first flight of the "SpaceX Dragon SpaceCraft" going to be? | Yahoo Answers
    • You missed the first launch which happened December 8th, 2010.
      Although I think you mean the next one that is scheduled to go to the ISS. That's scheduled for May 19th, 2012 (with a backup date of May 22nd).

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