“To date, over half a million people have placed an order or put down a deposit for Starlink,” Siva Bharadvaj, SpaceX operations engineer said. He spoke during the launch webcast of its 26th Starlink mission.
Starlink Is World’s Largest Satellite Constellation
Starlink is part of SpaceX, Elon Musk’s company ultimately aimed at colonizing Mars. Also known by its complete name Space Exploration Technologies Corp, it’s an American aerospace manufacturer and space transportation services company.
Founded by Musk in 2002, the company hopes to reduce space transportation costs using its innovative technology.
Starlink is a capital-intensive project which aims to build an interconnected internet network using thousands of satellites. Also known as a constellation, this interconnected space grid can deliver high-speed internet to consumers anywhere on the planet.
Starlink is now the world’s largest satellite constellation, with more than 1,500 Starlink satellites launched to orbit to date. Last May 4, which science fiction fans termed as Star Wars Day (“May the Fourth Be With You”), Spacelink launched 60 more Starlink satellites into orbit, which brings the total to 1,300.
However, some of these satellites have long since deorbited. The plan is to send 12,000 satellites over the next five years. Ultimately, Starlink hopes to cover the planet with 42,000 satellites.
Starlink Satellite Internet Service
Last year, SpaceX began offering a public beta program for Starlink. For a $99 monthly subscription fee, plus a one-time $499 fee for the starter kit, users can start surfing the internet using a Starlink service.
Early reviews showed promise. SpaceX reported to the Federal Communications Commission last February that Starlink’s internet service exceeds 100 megabits per second download speeds, 20 Mbps upload speeds, and latency “at or below 31 milliseconds.
Consequently, a CNBC review confirmed SpaceX’s report. Users reported download speeds ranging between 60 Mbps and 150 Mbps — with some even reporting peak speeds near 200 Mbps. In addition, latency also matched expectations. Most users reported latency of about 30 milliseconds, with some saying it’s more like 20 milliseconds.
Buoyed with its initial feedback, SpaceX started accepting $99 preorders for Starlink in early February. However, the company emphasized that preorders are fully refundable.
They made it clear that placing a deposit will not guarantee to get the service. As of February, SpaceX disclosed that they already have over 10,000 users in the US and other countries.
Spacelink’s design aims to cover any place on Earth. According to Musk, the only limitation to the service is the high density among users in crowded urban areas.
Despite the caution, the company received more than 500,000 orders and deposits. In a Tuesday tweet, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said that all 500,000 people will “most likely” receive service. He did say that delivering the internet to a large number of urban subscribers might complicate things.
Best For Rural Areas
Given its satellite design, Spacelink can provide internet services for remote locations such as rural areas and on the high seas.
These areas usually don’t have existing services as service providers remain reluctant to build networks in areas with little or no people.
At present, Starlink is available to beta customers in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Mexico, and Canada. Eventually, the goal is to reach the entire world. Customers looking to use the service can sign up via SpaceX’s Starlink website.
Watch The Hill video reporting that SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launches 60 Starlink satellites:
Do you have problems with your existing internet service due to your remote location? Will you be willing to try out Starlink?
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