Awaiting its ride to space are a Spanish radar-imaging satellite dubbed PAZ for government and commercial users.
SpaceX hopes they will be the first of some 12,000 satellites in total that will make up the future internet service.
To ensure consistent coverage, providers of next-gen satellite broadband will need to put up many more satellites, as well as develop accurate tracking technology that lets devices on the ground communicate with them without missing a beat. Through mass production and lower costs to orbit, a giant network of magnitudes smaller satellites can realistically beat those giant satellites by being closer to the Earth.
The idea is to create a network of satellites that insure connectivity at all times, but getting the logistics hammered out may be tricky. CEO Elon Musk says SpaceX is "going to try and do for satellites what we've done for rockets".
More confirmations came on Wednesday when the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission Ajit Pai started circulating a recommendation proposal to fellow commissioners to approve SpaceX's application for satellite-based internet services.
Here in South Africa mobile network operators have been asking authorities for greater access to spectrum only for negotiations to be hampered by red tape and protocols.
SpaceX is launching a rocket Sunday from the Vandenberg Air Force Base near Santa Barbara.
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Furthermore, SpaceX needs to implement the technology required to receive the beamed internet on Earth. While that is exciting, their plans for an internet-beaming satellite network are far more intriguing. Via the National Broadband Plan, the U.S. government is now trying to bring high-speed internet to places where service is lacking, especially rural areas. Last summer, the company filed a trademark request for the word "Starlink" for a global satellite broadband network. The Falcon 9 is scheduled to lift off at 6:16 a.m. As the satellites will constantly move, the receiving antennas must rapidly determine which satellite is best to communicate with at any given time.
In the statement, Pai said: "To bridge America's digital divide, we'll have to use innovative technologies".
Joining the likes of OneWeb, Space Norway and Telesat - who have also received approvals for similar plans - the SpaceX constellation will be comprised of LEO satellites. SpaceX also must access to part of the radio spectrum, which is the range of airwave frequencies that will be used to send the internet down from space. In the United States, it is estimated that at least 14 million people lack mobile broadband. The goal of SpaceX and nearly a dozen other companies is to deliver fast, reliable Internet access to virtually everyone.