The rocket carrying the 60 satellites took off Thursday night from Cape Canaveral, Florida. An "initial" service in the US would reportedly take just 400 satellites, while a more "significant" service would be possible with 800 satellites. The Iridium satellite network used this approach in the 1990s, using dozens of satellites to provide global phone and data services. As many as 2,000 satellites will be launched per year, with the ultimate objective of placing up to 12,000 into orbit.
SpaceX designed Starlink to connect end users with low latency, high bandwidth broadband services by providing continual coverage around the world using a network of thousands of satellites in low Earth orbit.
SpaceX on Thursday launched a rocket containing the first 60 satellites of its "Starlink" network, which is meant to provide internet from space and could one day number 12,000 satellites. The problem of satellites blocking out the view of telescopes from Earth, exists beyond Musk's Starlink satellite constellation.
Billionaire Elon Musk's firm, which is leading the private space race when it comes to rocket launches, is now looking to seize a chunk of the future space internet market. If 12,000 are added by SpaceX alone, it would add an unprecedented level of visual clutter for astronomers - and SpaceX is just one of the companies who want to put internet satellites into orbit. However, those unaware of the launch reported that they had seen UFOs. Within a few hours it was confirmed that telemetry had been received from each of the satellites.
SpaceX announced that "all 60 satellites have deployed their solar arrays successfully, generated positive power and communicated with our ground stations".
The satellites launched in rapid succession to each other, putting them very close to one another in orbit.
Musk hopes the Starlink satellites will generate cash for his larger ambitions in space.
In April, when India tested long-range missiles for Mission Shakti, NASA criticised the country for creating more space debris in the atmosphere.
Musk spoke about the greater good that his satellites will be accomplishing by providing internet access to billions of people. But with the addition of SpaceX's Starlink constellation, the number of operational satellites will increase significantly.