On Saturday, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk revealed the 60 satellites his company will be launching this week — the first batch of thousands of satellites that SpaceX hopes to deploy in the years ahead to provide global internet coverage from space. Musk tweeted a picture of the satellites packed tight together inside the nosecone of the Falcon 9 rocket that will take the spacecraft to orbit.
The satellites are the first operational units of SpaceX’s Starlink initiative, a planned mega-constellation of nearly 12,000 spacecraft that will sit in a low orbit above Earth and beam internet connectivity to the surface below. The Federal Communications Commission has granted SpaceX permission to launch two groups of satellites for the Starlink project: one constellation of 4,409 satellites, followed by a second constellation of 7,518 that will operate at a slightly lower altitude than the first. Together, the satellites are meant to fly in a synchronized dance over the Earth, providing internet to every region of the planet.