Earlier this week one of Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s other ventures had a pretty big day. SpaceX had another successful launch of the Falcon 9 rocket and were able to deploy a further 60 Starlink satellites into orbit, bringing the total number to 420 (did you expect 421?).
Successful deployment of 60 Starlink satellites confirmed pic.twitter.com/h3e6QmKRue
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) April 22, 2020
Musk plans to have as many as 12,000 in orbit by the end of the decade, with the goal to provide internet access around the world, but more importantly to rural areas that do not have the same infrastructure as well-connected larger cities.
Now Musk has revealed beta testing of the project will begin soon in Canada, with a focus on higher latitudes, ahead of the official launch in both Canada and the US later this year.
Private beta begins in ~3 months, public beta in ~6 months, starting with high latitudes
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 23, 2020
Musk provided no further details on how to apply to become a public beta tester, or the exact qualifications needed to become one, other than being located at a higher latitude.
SpaceX launched the first Starlink satellites into orbit less than one year ago on May 19, 2019. The company can produce the satellites at its manufacturing facilities at a rate of six per day, and has plans for up to 24 launches in 2020.