SpaceX founder Elon Musk today tweeted an eight-second video of the company's first broadband satellites, saying they are now "deployed and communicating to Earth stations."
First two Starlink demo satellites, called Tintin A & B, deployed and communicating to Earth stations pic.twitter.com/TfI53wHEtz
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 22, 2018
The demonstration satellites, named Tintin A and Tintin B, are being used to test SpaceX's future Starlink broadband service. Once all the necessary testing has been completed, the launch of operational satellites could begin sometime in 2019.
SpaceX's ultimate goal is to provide gigabit broadband worldwide, but the first tasks for these demo satellites are a bit simpler. Musk also tweeted that the satellites "will attempt to beam 'hello world'… when they pass near LA" on Friday morning.
"Don't tell anyone, but the Wi-Fi password is 'martians,'" Musk added. "That was a DM, right?"
Falcon 9 launch
The satellites were deployed this morning from SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket. Check out our earlier coverage for more on that launch. It was originally scheduled for Saturday, February 17, but was delayed a couple of times.
For more on the topic of SpaceX's broadband plans, see our article from last week. According to the plan, SpaceX's satellites will have low Earth orbits, allowing them to provide Internet service with latency similar to cable and fiber services. That should make SpaceX broadband a lot more pleasant to use than existing satellite services.
SpaceX plans to launch operational satellites in phases over a five-year period and reach full capacity with 4,425 satellites in 2024. SpaceX has also proposed an additional 7,500 satellites operating even closer to the ground, saying that this will boost capacity and reduce latency in heavily populated areas.