Elon Musk’s SpaceX was due to launch 60 small satellites into low-Earth orbit on Wednesday, part of his rocket company’s plan to sell Internet service beamed from space to fund his grander interplanetary ambitions.
SpaceX postponed the launch late Wednesday night due to excessive winds at the Florida launch site. The mission launch was rescheduled for 10:30 p.m. local time on Thursday from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, SpaceX said.
The first 60 Starlink satellites are stacked together atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The billionaire entrepreneur and chief executive officer of Tesla Inc. plans to send as many as 12,000 satellites into space as soon as 2024 to make high-speed internet available from space across the world.
Such services are key to generating the cash that privately held SpaceX needs to fund Musk’s larger dream of developing a new rocket capable of flying paying customers to the moon and eventually trying to colonize Mars.
But he faces stiff competition. In February, satellites built by Airbus SE and partner OneWeb blasted off from French Guiana, the first step in a similar plan to give millions of people in remote and rural areas high-speed internet from space.
Companies LeoSat Enterprises and Canada’s Telesat are also working to build data networks with hundreds or even thousands of tiny satellites that orbit closer to Earth than traditional communications satellites, a radical shift made possible by leaps in laser technology and computer chips.
Musk has faced other challenges. In November the entrepreneur, frustrated with the pace at which Starlink satellites were being developed, fired at least seven people on the program’s senior management team at a campus in Redmond, Washington, outside of Seattle, Reuters reported. The business has struggled to hire and retain staff.