As the network of Starlink satellites gets built up in space, most places on Earth could gain access to high-speed, low-latency, and affordable internet connections that rival the speed of those found in well-wired cities.
In its final form, Starlink will consist of almost 12,000 satellites - six times the number of all operational spacecraft now in orbit - in several orbital "shells".
Starlink is created to provide high-speed Internet access to areas of the planet where broadband is rare, spotty or non-existent.
At 18.5 tons, the payload will be the heaviest that any SpaceX rocket has ever attempted to launch into space, according to the company.
The Federal Communications Commission initially authorized SpaceX to launch and operate a constellation of 4,425 non-geostationary orbit satellites in March of previous year, then approved an additional 7,518 in November.
Musk, in a call with reporters, said SpaceX views 1,000 satellites as the point when Starlink becomes economically solid.
Furthermore, there is concern from some quarters that the upcoming launches of large satellite batches by SpaceX-and others pursuing similar aims, such as European company OneWeb-could increase the risk of risky collisions and space debris.
SpaceX's first launch with a large number of Starlink satellites was pushed back 24 hours, with a new launch window opening at 10:30 p.m.
In each plan, the tiny satellites orbit closer to Earth than traditional communications satellites, a radical shift made possible by leaps in laser technology and computer chips.
Musk said he was well aware of that history. Mark Juncosa, SpaceX's vice president of vehicle engineering, said 12 Starlink launches would ensure coverage of the United States.
And that's only SpaceX - OneWeb and Amazon will add thousands more. The company launched two prototype spacecraft nicknamed Tintin A and Tintin B in February 2018. Noting it is a "multi-billion dollar endeavor", he said that SpaceX has enough capital for the time being. While Wednesday's satellites will be nearly fully functional, Shotwell said the launch is really meant to test out how the large bank of satellites can be safely deployed into orbit - that is, without colliding with each other or winding up at the wrong altitude.
Musk said SpaceX would like to keep Starlink satellites in orbit for four to five years before deorbiting and replacing them with newer, more capable models. SpaceX chose krypton because it is less expensive than xenon, Musk said.
If the Starlink project works, it would mean abundant, fast internet everywhere on Earth, including in remote parts of Australia. "We can use the revenue from Starlink to fund Starship".