SpaceX Falcon 9 Launch

SpaceX launched the world's most powerful rocket the Falcon Heavy, this month. Now Elon Musk's space firm has been approved to build a broadband network of satellites

Hawthorne-based SpaceX Thursday launched a trio of satellites aboard a rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, including two that are part of a demonstration project for a proposed space-based internet system.

The prototypes, and Paz, are slated to be launched into a almost pole-to-pole orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 6:17 a.m. PT today.

Designed for a five-and-half-year mission, PAZ it will orbit the Earth 15 times daily in a quasi-polar orbit that will cover the entire Earth with an average revisit time of 24 hours, the release said.

But there's most likely a payload hitching a ride on the rocket that SpaceX isn't publicizing in its press kit: two smaller satellites that are part of Musk's plan to bathe Earth in high-speed internet coverage.

The Falcon 9 will be launching Spanish satellite PAZ into orbit.

PAZ, which is Spanish for "peace", included a radar-imaging payload to collect views of Earth to "address civilian needs with multiple applications", according to HISDESAT's website.

The launch took place a day later than planned; liftoff was scrubbed Wednesday due to high winds in the upper atmosphere.

SpaceX's huge internet-satellite constellation is one big step closer to reality.

The Falcon 9 launch will be the second this month after SpaceX launched their Falcon Heavy rocket on February 6 in Florida, the most powerful rocket in use today. At present, SpaceX indicates that the cost of an individual Falcon 9 launch is estimated to be around $62 million. "If successful, Starlink constellation will serve least served".

Each nose cone costs £4.3m, the website says, so its recovery could bring down the cost of SpaceX's subsequent missions. The satellite carries an instrument to make radar images of the Earth for government and commercial purposes.

FCC chairman Pai, who was appointed by President Trump, said last week that if SpaceX gets approval for its satellite project, it'll be a first for an American-based company in the internet-in-space race.

The two satellites are the first of an estimated 12,000 that will launch SpaceX into the telecommunications field, the company hopes. Typically the first-stage boosters of the Falcon 9 are recovered.

In a letter to the FCC, SpaceX's attorney said the company is confident Starlink is "more than capable of operating safely" and called OneWeb's concerns "self-serving and anti-competitive". Musk tweeted that it missed the ship by a few hundred meters but landed intact on the water.