Update: The launch has been delayed until February 17th at 6:17 AM PST, so that the launch crew can run though final checkouts of an upgraded fairing before sending the rocket up. They have confirmed that both the rocket and the payload are healthy and ready to go.
SpaceX is already hot in the news after their successful launch of the Falcon Heavy on February 6th, that is going to lead us toward future interplanetary missions thanks to its ability to not only send a massive payload into space, but to also recover the boosters for future missions (which obviously saves them a lot of money). Now, they are already set for their next mission, which is to begin building a complex network of satellites that can cover the globe with broadband internet.
It will begin with two test satellites that will be launched this
Sunday Wednesday ( February 18th February 17th). They are Microsat-2a and Microsat-2b, and will shed light on the beginning of the massive network that Elon Musk‘s company hopes to be around 12,000 individual low-orbiting satellites. A network that will hopefully become available sometime next year.
With this network, they hope to cover you nearly anywhere you might find yourself on Earth, providing a very large amount of throughput to replace what is currently available. This would also work great for pressuring the competition to speed up the evolution of their services and promote competitive pricing (hopefully).
The plans received a green light as soon as the FCC approved SpaceX’s application for launching the test satellites into space. SpaceX will of course require further FCC approval before they can actually move further with their plans of expanding everything into an operating ISP.
Hopefully, if and once they get their planned network of satellites in operational, they will begin planning out the ability to expand on the network with deep space connectivity, which can open up wider communication with neighboring stars (Moon, Mars, etc). For now though, their goal is providing internet for everyone here on Earth, including areas that have been plagued with a lack of connectivity, such as poverty-stricken areas/countries. This would also be great for breaking through and providing those in places like North Korea with an open window to seeing the rest of the world with their open eyes.
One thing is for sure, operating an ISP with this kind of coverage is going to help greatly increase profits that can help them expand their future launch operations, and get SpaceX one step closer to Mars (and beyond).
The test satellites will be launching in the early morning Sunday (currently 6:17 AM PST).