On Wednesday, test satellites for SpaceX will not be the only thing flying overseas the launched rocket.
OneWeb, which is now building its campus just down the road from SpaceX at Kennedy Space Center, plans to start building a constellation of 900 broadband satellites next year. The Falcon 9 will carry SpaceX's first Starlink broadband satellite and also deliver Spain's Paz radar-imaging satellite in top earth's orbit.
Satellite broadband is already available today. This has drawn other companies such as OneWeb, which recently struck a deal with Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin, into the race to supply cheap high-speed internet.
But why does CEO Elon Musk want to enter the communications industry? In addition to Spanish satellite, SpaceX will launch a communications satellite with a total mass of 800 kg. The shipping and aviation industries have also been known to use conventional satellite data services. At the end of 2016, Musk unveiled some details of the ambitious project plan of the company, the group will include 4425 satellites that will be in orbit height from 1150 to 1325 km.
According to the business plan, from 2019 to 2024 SpaceX will orbit 4425 satellites for Internet distribution. In order to provide the coverage they are selling, SpaceX will have to constantly shift and synchronize thousands of these spacecraft as they zoom around the globe.
SpaceX has won an endorsement to build a broadband network using satellites from the top USA communications regulator.
The agency earlier approved three worldwide operators for satellite-broadband operations.
"Each collision exponentially increases the likelihood of another collision, creating a potential cascade that could severely inhibit future telecommunications, national security, and other space-based activity in the [low Earth orbit] environment". The cheaper it is to launch an internet satellite, the more you can launch.
The FCC gave testing approval a year ago to OneWeb, a SpaceX competitor run by a former Google engineer that's also planning its own constellation of broadband satellites.
But SpaceX and Musk received a surprise endorsement this week when FCC Chairman Ajit Pai circulated a proposal to fellow commissioners calling for approval of SpaceX's constellation. The demo satellites will be the first component of branched-chain "constellation" of satellites Starlink. Of those people, roughly 6 in 10 live in the Asia-Pacific region, while 2 in 10 live in Africa.