CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) – Billionaire Elon Musk is SpaceX postponed a planned Wednesday night blastoff of a Falcon 9 rocket carrying the first 60 satellites for its new Starlink internet service, citing excessive wind over the Florida launch site.
FILE PHOTO: SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket (in the centre, in a horizontal position), is readied for launch on a supply mission to the International Space Station on the historic launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA, February 17, 2017. REUTERS/Joe Skipper/File Photo
Start of the mission, focusing on placing of the first phase of the Musk is the space-based global internet network in a low Earth orbit, was scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Thursday (0230 GMT Friday) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, SpaceX said.
In an interview with reporters before Wednesday, the countdown was stopped, the high-tech entrepreneur praised the “fundamental goodness” of its ambitions to expand internet connectivity worldwide, but warned that success was far from guaranteed.
Musk said he expects that the revenues generated from the rocket to launch services by privately owned Space Exploration Technologies, known as SpaceX, to the top at about $3 billion per year. That makes Starlink key to generating the money that SpaceX needs to finance Musk larger dreams of the development of the new spaceship capable of flying paying customers to the moon and eventually try to colonize Mars.
“We think this is an important stepping stone on the way to the creation of a self-contained city on Mars and a base on the moon,” said Musk, who is also the chief executive officer of automaker Tesla Inc.
Each satellite in the first Starlink launch weighs 500 pounds (227 kg), making this the heaviest SpaceX payload-to-date.
It will take at least 12 launches of more satellites to reach Musk goal of providing a constant internet coverage for most of the world, ” he said. Starlink is allowed only for activities in the United States.
Musk faced with heavy competition. In February, Airbus-SE-backed OneWeb launched her own clutch of satellites, while LeoSat Companies and Canada’s Telesat are also engaged in the construction of data networks. [L1N20M1ZB]
All the existence of small satellites in an orbit closer to the Earth than traditional communications satellites, a radical shift was made possible by leaps in technology of the laser and the computer chips.
Musk faced with other problems. Frustrated with the pace of Starlink satellites were developed, he is dismissed from at least seven members of the program’s senior management team on a campus in Redmond, Washington, outside of Seattle, Reuters reported.
Musk said SpaceX has “sufficient capital” to make Starlink operational, but would need to raise money if things go wrong with the multibillion-dollar effort, which he called “one of the most difficult engineering projects that I have ever seen done.”
Musk said SpaceX would start with the approach of customers later this year or next year. As many as 2,000 satellites to be launched per year, ” he said. But he teetered on the timeline for the placement of as many as 12,000 satellites in orbit as the company had previously described.
Reporting by Joey Roulette in Cape Canaveral, Florida; Writing and additional reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Robert Birsel