The FCC just approved SpaceX’s plans to launch 1,584 broadband internet-beaming satellites, known as Starlink, that hover at a lower orbit, around 341 miles (550 kilometers) from Earth.
Eventually, SpaceX plans to have around 12,000 satellites around the globe to provide internet service to all areas of the planet. The company plans to send the first few satellites into space sometime this May, with the payload already having arrived in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The goal of the company is to provide reliable and affordable broadband internet service.
According to SpaceX, the lower orbit of the satellites will allow much lower latency in the signal, which would lower the transmission times to just 15 milliseconds. Also, since the satellites are orbiting lower, if they ever broke down, they would simply get burned up in the atmosphere.
Amazon also plans to launch 3,236 satellites (called Project Kuiper) that would also provide internet service.
Photo: The SpaceX Falcon Heavy launches from Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on February 6, 2018, on its demonstration mission. The world's most powerful rocket, SpaceX's Falcon Heavy, blasted off Tuesday on its highly anticipated maiden test flight, carrying CEO Elon Musk's cherry red Tesla roadster to an orbit near Mars. Screams and cheers erupted at Cape Canaveral, Florida as the massive rocket fired its 27 engines and rumbled into the blue sky over the same NASA launchpad that served as a base for the US missions to Moon four decades ago. Photo credit: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images