SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket will launch internet satellite to serve Alaska in 2022

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SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket launches on its debut mission from Launch Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Feb. 6, 2018. Image: SpaceX

SpaceX: internet for Alaska! SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket just got another passenger.

The powerful Falcon Heavy is now scheduled to loft Astranis’ first commercial communications satellite to orbit next spring, Astranis representatives announced Thursday (Sept. 23).

The satellite — which will beam internet service down to Alaskans from geostationary orbit, about 22,200 miles (35,730 kilometers) up — had previously been slated to ride atop a SpaceX Falcon 9.

”Launching on Falcon Heavy will get us on orbit months faster, allowing us to serve customers in Alaska that much sooner,” Astranis CEO John Gedmark said in a statement. “This is a huge win for our customers in Alaska.”

The Alaska-serving satellite will be just the beginning for Astranis, if all goes according to plan. 

“By owning and operating its satellites and offering them to customers as a turnkey solution, Astranis is able to provide bandwidth-as-a-service and unlock previously unreachable markets,” representatives of the San Francisco-based company wrote in the same statement. “This allows Astranis to launch small, dedicated satellites for small and medium-sized countries, Fortune 500 companies, existing satellite operators and other customers.” Read more from Mike Wall, Space.com

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