The MicroSat 1a and 1b were two identical microsatellites to test technologies for SpaceX's planned 4000-satellite Starlink constellation to provide broadband Internet access.
These satellites are the first of series of six to eight experimental demonstration spacecraft. They were to carry a Ku-band payload and are to validate the design of a broadband antenna communications platform that will lead to the final LEO constellation design.
Additionally, the satellites were to carry a single low-resolution panchromatic video imager. The imager was to capture low-resolution images and video of Earth and the satellite itself. The images and video were not to be used for commercial purposes and could potentially be used for general educational purposes, such as through the release of inspiring public Earth images.
SpaceX was to use three ground stations to test the satellites. One will be located at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, a second will be at SpaceX's commercial satellite development center in Redmond, Washington, while the third will be at the Fremont, California, headquarters of Tesla Motors.
The satellites were to be launched together as secondary payloads in 2016 on one of the Iridium-NEXT Falcon-9 v1.2 rocket launches from Vandenberg. The satellites were to operate in near-polar orbits at an altitude of 625 kilometers for a minimum of six to twelve months. Apparently they were reduced to ground-based tests with the launches cancelled in favor of the next development step, the MicroSat 2a and 2b satellites.
|Type / Application:
|Ku-band transponder, low-resolution imager
|Solar arrays, batteries
|6 - 12 months
|625 km × 625 km, 86.6°
|with ?, MicroSat 1b
|with ?, MicroSat 1a