For the second time in recent days, SpaceX has delayed the launch of a rocket carrying prototype satellites for its planned broadband internet service.
The Falcon 9 is now set to blast off Wednesday, just a few weeks after SpaceX launched its huge Falcon Heavy rocket for the first time.
More than three years ago we learned Elon Musk and his rocket company were working on developing satellites to provide low-cost internet access around the world. Correspondence between the company and the Federal Communications Commission revealed that the first pair of demonstration satellites for the company’s Starlink service will finally be launched into orbit.
The main payload for the launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California will be the Spanish government’s Paz satellite, designed to capture imagery of the Earth down to the single-meter scale. But there had been unconfirmed reports for several weeks now from space industry sources like NASASpaceFlight.com that a secondary passenger on the flight would be the Starlink demonstration setup.
SpaceX itself has been relatively mum about the debut of its Starlink satellites, and about the entire program itself. However, a letter from SpaceX to the Federal Communications Commission, posted to the FCC website Monday, makes it pretty clear what will be aboard the Falcon 9 when it launches.
The letter refers to two satellites, called Microsat-2a and Microsat-2b, that will be launched as a secondary payload on the Paz mission. The FCC granted SpaceX a license in November to launch this pair of satellites as part of a test mission. In its application, the company describes the test objectives:
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SOURCE: Cnet, Eric Mack