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SpaceX confirms satellite constellation plan

SpaceX’s president/CEO Gwynne Shotwell, speaking at a conference in Kuala Lumpur, says that while the rocket company has not yet identified the cause of the catastrophic September 1st explosion (which destroyed a rocket as well as the Amos-6 satellite), she nevertheless said she was optimistic the company will be back launching satellites this year.

She added that the sort of discounts clients could earn by re-using a pre-flown rocket would be in the region of 10 per cent, and not the 30 per cent that’s widely been quoted.  SpaceX is currently vigorously testing a rocket that was used to launch JCSAT-14 earlier this year, and which is a strong candidate to be re-used again, although probably not for an upcoming SES satellite which is expected to use

Shotwell also confirmed that SpaceX’s plan to build and launch a ‘super-constellation’ of Low Earth Orbiting broadband satellites was very much alive.  She told trade mag Space News that the project was now in its development phase.

She explained that the challenge wasn’t in building satellites but in manufacturing a rooftop antenna that was simple, and worked seamlessly and “could be installed for a couple of hundred dollars”.

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