Elon Musk Launches 60 Satellites to Provide Earth with High-Speed Internet

Elon Musk Launches 60 Satellites to Provide Earth with High-Speed Internet
Last night, Elon Musk's innovative rocket company, SpaceX, launched the first 60 of nearly 12,000 internet-providing satellites into orbit. This extremely exciting and monumental achievement is good for the globe, but the African continent stands to gain the most growth through affordable and efficient rural internet access provided by Satellites.  

The 70m-tall vehicle lifted off Thursday night from Space Launch Complex-40 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. This comes a week after two back-to-back countdowns for the mission were scrubbed - once due to high winds over the Cape and the next night in order to update satellite software and 'triple-check' all systems. 

SpaceX is footing the bill for Starlink missions, and Musk said this one will be experimental in nature. Weighing in at nearly 19 tons, the satellite-packed payload represents the heaviest payload the company has ever attempted to launch.

As the network of Starlink satellites gets built up in space, most places on Earth could gain access to high-speed, low-latency (yes, lower lag, gamers), and affordable internet connections that rival the speed of those found in well-wired cities. Even partial deployment of Starlink would benefit the financial sector and bring broadband internet to rural and remote areas, according to Musk.

This is amazing news for South Africa where our lack of internet access in rural areas, and lower speeds and higher ping in general, stunts the growth of many sectors and industries in our country. Fibre, South Africa's current best Internet option, requires cables that are expensive and to lay, take long to do so and disrupt business and houses around it. Musk's Starlink project directly combats this.  

Another positive introduced by Starlink is the competitive-pricing, that will also disrupt ADSL and Fiber prices in South Africa. This should cause them to adjust their prices or lose business to better services. Yet another reason Starlink's internet will be more accessible to the wider world. 

Musk continued to say that a dozen launches of 60 satellites could bring 'minor' service to the US, about 24 could bring 'moderate' and near-global service, and 30 would cement a robust global network. However, he said about 1,000 satellites, or roughly 17 launches, would be needed to make Starlink a profitable enterprise. With Musk's plan to launch satellites 15 times a year, this could mean we would have a global network in just over a year! 

Want to find out more? Check out the SpaceX video with more detail.


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