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SpaceX plans to launch first internet-providing satellites in 2019

•, by Rich McCormick

Elon Musk's company yesterday outlined its plan to put a network of internet-providing satellites around our planet, stating in a Senate hearing on broadband infrastructure that it wanted to start sending the craft into space in 2019, before the full network came online in 2024.

SpaceX's vice president of satellite government affairs, Patricia Cooper, said that the company was aiming to get a prototype satellite into space this year, before launching another in the early months of 2018. These prototypes will be used to demonstrate that the custom-built craft are capable of providing internet for Earth dwellers, but assuming the tests go successfully, SpaceX plans to start building the network proper in 2019.

The company will launch additional satellites in phases until 2024, at which point Cooper says the network should have reached full capacity, with the craft operating on the Ka- and Ku-band frequencies. SpaceX will be using its own Falcon 9 rockets to get the satellites into low-Earth orbit — a measure that will help it save costs and ensure it's not beholden to the launch schedules of other spacefaring firms.

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