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— This is the script of CNBC's news report for China's CCTV on May 27, 2019, Monday.
What launched this time is the second round of test satellite of STARLINK from SPEACEX, and that is also the first mass release test, with 60 satellites.
As test satellites, the satellites will have the ability to communicate with the ground, according to SpaceX. Behind the 60-satellite is a much bigger and more ambitious project, that is SpaceX's ongoing satellite constellation program.
The plan is to eventually launch a total of 12,000 satellites, then such a vast chain of stars will form a vast communications network. And that's what SpaceX founder Elon musk is trying to do: a low-cost, high-coverage global communications system, including high-speed broadband. SpaceX plans to sell satellite services to the military and scientific institutions. It will take more than a decade to build, at an estimated cost of $10 billion. It has been calculated that it would take at least 360 satellites to achieve the minimum broadband coverage of the earth, and 720 satellites to achieve the moderate coverage. Starting commercial operations until 2020 at the earliest
As a result, SpaceX will launch more satellites this year, and 12 times more to provide "medium scale" Internet coverage. According to FCC documents,SpaceX will begin commercial service after deploying 800 satellites, which could happen as early as next year.
But a project of this magnitude is predictably expensive. SpaceX estimates the STARLINK network will take more than a decade to build and estimates it will cost $10 billion. Apparently, the market is very excited about musk's ambition and very receptive to it. This is evident from SpaceX's recent ability to raise money. CNBC recently learned that the company has raised more than $1 billion since the beginning of the year. Musk said both rounds were much better subscribed than previously thought
From the perspective of industrial prospects, market expectations are well-founded: worldwide, only about 45 percent of the population has access to the Internet. That is because most of the network's connections come from fibre-optic cables on land and under the sea, but there are limits to how much infrastructure can be laid, it's also very inefficient in some places, but if you put satellites in the sky you can reach every corner of the globe. Musk said SpaceX could earn $3 billion a year from operating rocket missions, but the potential broadband revenue would be $30 billion a year, which represents incalculable commercial value.
Of course, every piece of cake is attractive to many competitors, this market is no exception. Companies such as Google, Facebook and OneWeb have similar projects planned. So the broadband battle for satellites in the sky may soon begin. We will keep an eye on this issue.