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SpaceX Starlink satellites shown on a Falcon ready for launch

14 May 2019

Future plans are for almost 12,000 satellites to go into low-Earth orbit, which will provide downlink data from space to internet users.

Shotwell ultimately referred to this batch as "demonstration" satellites, which will test out how the company plans to deploy these vehicles into orbit.

But those satellites, named "Tintin A" and "Tintin B", were trial satellites, and the latest are production design-level, Musk said on Saturday.

One group, or constellation of 4,409 satellites, followed by a second constellation of 7,518 that will operate at a slightly lower altitude than the first.

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This may be your most obvious opportunity to get a peek at SpaceX's Starlink internet satellites before they're plunged into orbit.

However, the FCC dismissed both of these, saying that they didn't feel SpaceX's satellites would interfere with other companies' satellites' frequencies, nor did they think the satellits would pose a collision risk due to their ability to maneuver out of the way of approaching satellites.

The Falcon 9 rocket, and its fairings, are the same as that used to launch Musk's tesla roadster into space more than a year ago. As a result, SpaceX successfully petitioned the FCC to fly some of its satellites in the lower orbit, based on what the company had learned from those test satellites.

A Twitter user asked Elon Musk if the satellites were flat-packed and how will they be dispensed into orbit, to which Mr Musk responded: "It is flat-packed, no dispenser".

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This first set of satellites is expected to take to the skies in the coming days, perhaps as early as Wednesday. He also promised to roll out more details on the day of the launch.

If everything goes according to plan, the first 60 Starlink satellites will be launched into space on Wednesday.

The dream of high-speed internet delivered from space may be realized by Starlink, but it's going to take a lot of work. OneWeb launched its first six satellites in February of this year.

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SpaceX Starlink satellites shown on a Falcon ready for launch