SpaceX is expected to spend billions on its ambitious goal of building a massive constellation of Internet-shining satellites that will "change the world," said the company's president and chief operating officer a conference earlier this month.
The project, known as Starlink in federal submissions, aims to catapult thousands of satellites into low Earth orbit with SpaceX missiles that can eventually beam Internet connections and bypass the need for intricate land-based infrastructure. According to federal documents, users only need a laptop-sized terminal to connect to the constellation of nearly 12,000 mini-particle-sized satellites.
"We're not really talking much about this particular project," SpaceX's Gwynne Shotwell said during a newly released technology, entertainment, design discussion, aka TED Talk. "This is probably one of the most challenging – if not the most challenging – project we have undertaken."
"It costs the company about $ 10 billion or more to install this system," she said. [Air Force: ‘Future is very bright’ for Cape Canaveral launches, 45th Space Wing]
[SpaceX’s Shotwell: Expect a ‘couple more’ Falcon Heavy launches this year]
Shotwell's statements came more critically almost a month after SpaceX Approval secured by the Federal Communications Commission to begin building the constellation. According to the FCC, SpaceX will have to launch 50 percent of the planned 4,425 satellites by 2024 and complete the first phase by 2027.
"The granting of this application will enable SpaceX to offer a fast, reliable and affordable broadband service to consumers in the United States and around the world, including areas underserved or currently unaffected by existing networks," the FCC said in March ,
The company hopes to reduce a second phase of more than 7,500 additional satellites to even lower orbits, which helps latency, or a delay before data transfers begin. Satellites placed in higher orbits typically suffer from high latency due to distances from Earth.
Testing is in full swing, also thanks to two Starlink prototypes from Vandenberg, California's Air Force Base launched in February as secondary payloads on a Falcon 9 mission known as PAZ. The Microsats 2a and 2b were nicknamed "Tintin A & B," said CEO Elon Musk after the launch and was to throw "Hello World" on the earth as they drove over Los Angeles.