SpaceX gets set to try out its first internet satellites

Image: SpaceX Redmond
SpaceX’s Redmond office is the center for its satellite operations. (GeekWire photo by Kevin Lisota)

The first test satellites for SpaceX’s global internet constellation are being prepped for launch as early as this week — three years after SpaceX CEO Elon Musk unveiled the project in Seattle.

The prototype spacecraft, known as Microsat 2a and 2b, are reportedly to be included as secondary payloads on a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, due for launch on Feb. 17. The primary payload is a 3,000-pound Spanish radar observation satellite called Paz.

SpaceX conducted a static-fire test of the Falcon 9, which makes use of a previously flown first-stage booster, at Vandenberg today. The test involved briefly firing up the booster’s rocket engines as a rehearsal for liftoff.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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