SpaceX Starlink launch: Watch internet satellites lift off into space

A further 12,000 satellites are planned to provide universal broadband coverage around the world

Anthony Cuthbertson
Friday 24 May 2019 15:17 BST
SpaceX launches Starlink internet satellites

SpaceX has successfully launched the first 60 satellites of its planned Starlink internet project.

A Falcon 9 rocket carrying the satellites took off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, late on Thursday, delivering the first part of Elon Musk's plan to provide high-speed internet to anyone on Earth.

The launch had previously been delayed due to adverse weather conditions, but a clear window allowed the private space firm to deploy the satellites into orbit.

Mr Musk later confirmed on Twitter that all 60 satellites were online.

SpaceX plans to eventually launch 12,000 internet satellites in order to provide universal online access.

"SpaceX designed Starlink to connect end users with low latency, high bandwidth broadband services by providing continual coverage around the world using a network of thousands of satellites in low Earth orbit," the space firm said.

"SpaceX expects to encounter issues along the way, but our learnings here are key to developing an affordable and reliable broadband service in the future."

The first 60 satellites deployed just over an hour after liftoff at an altitude of 440km. Using their own self-propulsion mechanism, they then launched into orbit at around 550km.

Mr Musk previously warned that there would likely be issues with the first batch of satellites.

"Much will likely go wrong on first mission," he tweeted earlier this month. "Also, six more launches of 60 satellites needed for minor coverage, 12 for moderate."

The billionaire entrepreneur said he expected it would take a minimum of 1,000 satellites for the space-based internet to be economically viable.

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