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>> Elon Musk has big ambitions for a SpaceX project, that would bring high speed Internet to underserved areas via satellite. And he plans to launch the first batch of those satellites no later than June 2019. But a previously unreported shake up at the satellites unit known as Starlink, has cast doubts that that self imposed deadline can be met.
Reuter's correspondent Eric Johnson is at Starlink's headquarters, in the Seattle suburb of Redmond.>> Well, the Starlink project hit a road bump earlier this year in June when Musk flew to Seattle for production meetings with his engineers, and within hours had fired senior engineers on the program. The management firings happened after Musk butted heads with senior engineers over testing schedules and other matters.
However, SpaceX said that it was just a reshuffle needed to keep the program on track, and that in no way, was an existential threat to the program or its future.>> Starlink's success is crucial for SpaceX's growth. Not only would it give Musk the chance to sell internet to some of the billions who don't yet have it, it would also bring in the cash needed for other high flying aspirations.
>> Well, SpaceX has snagged billions of dollars in launch contracts from NASA, the Department of Defense, and satellite communications firms. Starlink's point is to help fund the grander envision, such as colonizing Mars or even taking paying customers to the moon.>> But Musk Starlink is not alone. It's facing fierce competition from other companies in the space race, to provide internet via satellites.
Companies like OneWeb which has raised more than $2 billion from Softbank, and Coca Cola among others. Starlink however is seeing some success. Reuters has learned a pair of test satellites launched back in February, dubbed Tintin A and B, are in orbit, working as intended. And that the FCC is collaborating with SpaceX, to refine the satellite's orbital path.
SpaceX engineers are running their own tests back on Earth to make sure the signals work. A source telling Reuters, engineers are playing video games, and streaming YouTube via the satellite's internet signal.