elon musk spacex starlink global satellite internet network earth globe orbits getty business insider 4x3

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SpaceX is launching satellites into space by the dozens to realize Starlink, a globe-encircling constellation of spacecraft that beam affordable, high-speed internet across Earth.

So far, the scheme — envisioned by SpaceX founder Elon Musk — seems to be working. The aerospace company even plans to open a public beta test across the northern US and southern Canada, Musk tweeted on October 8, possibly within the next few months.

“Other countries to follow as soon as we receive regulatory approval,” he added.

However, the unprecedented project has left a trail of seemingly unresponsive spacecraft in its wake. All of the satellites are designed to be maneuverable in space using an ion engine, and even deorbit themselves back to Earth. But satellites with malfunctioning communication or propulsion systems can fly uncontrolled and pose a hazard to other satellites, and even astronauts, circling Earth.

SpaceX launched its first batch of 60 prototypes in May 2019 and, to date, has flown 775 total Starlink internet satellites. But so far around 3% of those spacecraft may have failed, according to data collected by Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

“I would say their failure rate is not …read more


Source:: Businessinsider – Tech

      

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