A Falcon 9 rocket carrying the satellites launched at 9:56 am CET from Florida's Canaveral Air Force Station. About an hour later, the company confirmed the orbiting satellites.
The company has been authorized by the regulators to launch more than 10,000 Starlink satellites and recently asked for permission to add up to 30,000 to that number.
The remaining satellites of this launch are already in operation. Last month, SpaceX CEO and Chief Engineer, Elon Musk, sent the first tweet about the Starlink service.
"We still have a long way to go from tweets to 4K cat videos, but we're on the way," said Lauren Lyons. A SpaceX engineer who hosted the launch webcast on Monday.
The company hopes that Starlink will one day be able to connect a significant portion of the world's population to the Internet, who live in areas without wireless infrastructure or are unsatisfied with their current infrastructure providers. According to Musk, Starlink could earn $ 30 billion or more annually with SpaceX.
The business will States and Canada first launched in the United States, possibly as early as next year. The company wants to have global coverage by the end of 2020, but has to come to terms with foreign governments to get permission to operate overseas.
Other technology companies have tried and failed to build constellations for the satellite Internet to provide low-cost broadband services. One reason for the success of SpaceX is the ability to start cheap with your own rockets. The Falcon 9 was a pioneer in the space industry due to its $ 60 million price, which is about one-third the price of rockets of similar size.
According to SpaceX, the Falcon 9 is part of the reason why it is so cheap. This is because the company can reuse parts of the hardware.
SpaceX routinely recycles the first stage booster, the lower part of the rocket, which gives the first thrust on takeoff. The booster used on Monday was previously used on three missions. This was the first time SpaceX had used the same booster on four space journeys.
It was also the first mission in which the Falcon 9 flew with a used disguise. The conical part on top of the rocket protecting the satellites at take-off.
SpaceX is not alone in its mission to radiate the Internet from space: Similar constellations have been proposed by Amazon and Softbank-backed OneWeb. These companies have taken advantage of the economic opportunities to provide cheap high-speed Internet worldwide.
However, the idea of bringing thousands of new devices into orbit is controversial. Astronomers have expressed concern about how this affects their ability to observe the night sky. And there are safety concerns – especially how to ensure that newly installed satellites do not collide and increase space debris issues.
Throughout history, only about 8,000 satellites have been sent into space, and there are about 2,000 currently active satellites. According to the current plans for satellite constellations, this number could increase by more than 20,000 in just a decade.