Musk warns SpaceX satellite launch could 'go wrong'

13 May 2019 | Laurence Doe

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Elon Musk has warned that “much will likely go wrong" during the first SpaceX StarLink constellation satellite launch, which is currently scheduled for May 15.

While sharing several updates about the broadband data network over Twitter, the CEO of SpaceX also revealed that the first mission to send 60 satellites into orbit would be the first of six to achieve minor coverage and 12 for moderate.

Musk tweeted: “Much will likely go wrong on 1st mission. Also, 6 more launches of 60 sats needed for minor coverage, 12 for moderate.”

He also posted images of the 60 satellites tightly loaded into the Falcon 9 rocket (below), adding that he would share more details on the day of the launch.  

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted SpaceX the authority to construct, deploy and operate the low earth orbit (LEO) consellation of more than 7,000 satellites using V-band frequencies in November last year.

SpaceX’s satellite system will contribute towards enabling fixed satellite services in the US, expanding global connectivity and advancing the goals of increasing high-speed broadband availability and competition in the marketplace.

Kepler Communications, Telesat Canada, and LeoSat were also granted similar authorisations, however SpaceX will add the 37.5-42.0 GHz, and 47.2-50.2 GHz frequency bands to its previously authorized non-geostationary satellite orbit (NGSO) constellation.

The Commission’s action provides SpaceX with additional flexibility to provide both diverse geographic coverage and the capacity to support a wide range of broadband and communications services for residential, commercial, institutional, governmental, and professional users in the United States and globally.

SpaceX also received FCC endorsement to build a satellite-based internet network in February 2018.

Musk’s vision of providing space cancellation was recently mirrored by another technology entrepreneur and CEO of Amazon Jeff Bezos, who is planning to launch over 3,000 satellites under Project Kuiper to offer high-speed broadband services.

An Australian nano-satellite company Sky and Space Global is also progressing with its plans to build a global coverage network as part of its focus on internet of things and machine-to-machine services.