Elon Musk’s Starlink to provide Internet globally

According to Tesla and SpaceX chief executive, Elon Musk, Starlink was on track to provide global internet coverage. Starlink has over 70,000 users across 12 countries, presently.

Key Points

  • He underlined; SpaceX is ready to spend about $30 billion to expand Starlink in a bid to cover 5 lakh user-mark in next 12 months.
  • Startlink will provide an internet network “everywhere except the poles.
  • Startlink uses SpaceX’s satellite power to provide broadband internet service. It uses 1,500 SpaceX satellites in lower orbit currently but Elon Musk has planned to increase the numbers to 12,000.

What is Starlink?

Starlink is high-speed, low latency broadband internet which delivers initial beta service domestically as well as internationally. It is a satellite internet constellation, constructed by SpaceX to provide satellite Internet access across the world. Internet constellation comprises of thousands of mass-produced small satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO). These satellites communicate with designated ground transceivers. The cost of project to design, build and deploy constellation was estimated to be at least US$10 billion.

SpaceX satellite development facility

This facility has been established in Redmond, Washington to house Starlink research, development, manufacturing and orbit control teams.

Background

Development of product was started in 2015. Two of its prototype test-flight satellites were launched in February 2018. In May 2019, more test satellites and 60 operational satellites were deployed.

SpaceX’s Capacity

SpaceX can launch up to 60 satellites in one go. It aims to deploy 1,584 of 260 kg spacecraft to provide near-global service by late 2021 or 2022. It started a private beta service in Northern United States in August 2020 and public beta in October 2020.

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