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The satellites that SpaceX is about to launch to Earth orbit could help humanity settle the moon and Mars someday.
On Thursday (May 23), SpaceX plans to loft the first 60 spacecraft of its planned Starlink megaconstellation, which is designed to provide affordable internet service to people around the world.
Right - Six - Launches - Payloads - Starlink
But don't expect a signal right away. Six more launches with 60-satellite payloads each will be needed to activate Starlink, and six more after that are required for the network to provide "significant coverage," SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk has said.
There's a "fundamental goodness" inherent in improving internet access, the billionaire entrepreneur said in a call with reporters on May 15. But there should be a lot of money in the enterprise as well — perhaps up to $50 billion per year for SpaceX.
Internet-connectivity - Revenue - World - Order - Access
"Total internet-connectivity revenue in the world is on the order of $1 trillion [annually], and we think maybe we can access about 3% of that, or maybe 5%," Musk said.
That would be a huge boost over SpaceX's launch revenue, which tops out at around $3 billion per year, Musk added. The extra money could allow SpaceX to do what Musk has repeatedly said is the company's main goal: help humanity become a multiplanet species.
"We think this is...
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