SpaceX leaps into satellite biz with next rocket launch, stirs competiton with OneWeb

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Hawthorne, Calif.-based rocket company SpaceX has its hands full with multiple projects and rockets in its pipeline — and another one is set to launch Feb. 17.

SpaceX, owned by millionaire Elon Musk, will launch a couple of its company-built satellite prototypes to orbit using its Falcon 9 rocket to begin its Starlink constellation that will provide millions — if not billions — of people with high-speed internet. The main intention of the rocket launch from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base is to boost a Paz satellite to orbit for Spanish company Hisdesat that will collect views of Earth for government and commercial customers. But the rocket also will carry the satellite prototypes as secondary payloads for SpaceX.

While the rocket launch will be in California, this news is important for Florida’s Space Coast, too. The Feb. 17 launch will kick off SpaceX’s plans to boost nearly 12,000 satellites to space throughout a few years, and many of those launches will take place at Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station as the coast is SpaceX’s main site for launches.