The rocket itself, one of the firm's frequently used Falcon 9s, features a booster stage that was recovered from a previous mission. Although recovery is possible, SpaceX has decided not to land the first stage for re-use. But like everything else in life, nose cones aren't free. SpaceX has designed wing-like parafoils to guide the panels down to capture in a large net on a custom-designed ship - Mr. Steven - stationed downrange from the launch site.
FCC application documents filed by SpaceX reveal the true scale of Elon Musk's Starlink ambitions.
'It's like a giant catcher's mitt, in boat form.I think it might be able to do the same thing with Dragon, ' he added.
Because the market is so competitive, SpaceX has said only as much about Starlink as it's been required to say in regulatory filings.
A view of the Falcon 9 rocket on Cape Canaveral's Complex 40 launch pad Wednesday, awaiting the attachment of the Hispasat 30W-6 satellite for launch Sunday. The satellites will whisk around the planet about 335 km to 1,325 km above the Earth's surface.
"It's a very flexible mission", Miguel Angel García Primo, chief operating officer of Hisdesat, told Spaceflight Now.
The same goal is driving Microsoft's initiative to transmit internet signals over unused TV airwaves.
SpaceX's primary mission for this launch is to deliver the Paz radar-imaging satellite into orbit.
For the internet satellites, Falcon 9's payload will be in the first-phase mission for broadband testing. "If successful, Starlink constellation will serve least served", Musk teased on Wednesday.
The two satellites may test aspects of Starlink, a project to bathe Earth in high-speed internet access using almost 12,000 spacecraft.
However, if SpaceX succeeds in turning StarLink into reality, the company will be putting over 4,000 satellites in orbit around Earth in the next five years.
The Paz satellite is scheduled to deploy about 11 minutes after launch. The satellites are equipped with phased array antennas and optical links for communications between spacecraft. The Earth-observation satellite will be used by Spanish commercial companies and the Spanish government, Grush reports.
Many companies have been participating in the race due to many people around the globe still lacking access to the internet access.
"If adopted, it would be the first approval given to an American-based company to provide broadband services using a new generation of low-Earth orbit satellite technologies". They will be built on a production line in an $85 million 100,000-square-foot factory near the Kennedy Space Center.
Earlier this month, SpaceX captured the public's attention with the launch of its massive new rocket.