Speaking of billionaire Elon Musk, chances are high that you’re thinking of electric car company Tesla, his space exploration venture SpaceX, or his attempt to acquire Twitter. Perhaps something you may be less familiar with is Starlink, a venture aimed at selling Internet connections through a growing network of private satellites. But how does Starlink work?
Visit Brazil No Día 20 de Mayo de 2o22, ya magenta de reunio com jair bolsonaro y depuis anco by miio de sue conta do twitter que su empressa opera la pais. “I am very excited to be in Brazil to launch Starlink in 19,000 disconnected schools in rural areas and also for environmental monitoring of the Amazon region,” Musk said in the post.
But Starlink has its arguments. Members of the scientific community have raised concerns about the effect of Starlink’s low Earth orbit satellites on night sky visibility. Meanwhile, satellite Internet competitors including Viasat, HughesNet and Amazon’s Project Kuiper have noticed Starlink’s push, sparking a regulatory duel and attempts to slow Musk.
But what is Starlink and how does it work
Technically, Starlink is a division within SpaceX, as well as being the name of the company’s growing spaceflight network – or “constellation” – of orbiting satellites. Development of this network began in 2015, with satellite prototypes launched into orbit in 2018.
Over the next few years, SpaceX deployed thousands of Starlink satellites to the constellation in dozens of successful launches, the most recent of which was on April 21 and introduced another 53 satellites into low Earth orbit. This brings the total number of satellites launched to 2,388, of which more than 2,000 appear to be operational parts of the constellation.
Starlink How does it work? Can these satellites connect my home to the Internet? That’s the idea, yes.
Like existing satellite internet providers like HughesNet or Viasat, Starlink wants to sell internet access – especially to people in rural areas and other parts of the world who don’t have access to high-speed broadband.
SpaceX’s Starlink hardware includes a satellite dish and a router, which you’ll configure at home to receive the signal from space. The latest version of the dish, shown here, is cheaper for SpaceX, and other design improvements may be on the way in 2022.
The Starlink website reads: “Starlink is ideal for areas of the world where connectivity is a challenge.” “Without the limitations of traditional terrestrial infrastructure, Starlink can provide high-speed broadband Internet to locations where access has been unreliable or completely unavailable.”
All you need to do to make the connection is to set up a small satellite dish in your house to receive the signal and pass the bandwidth to your router. The company offers many mounting options for decks, backyards, and the exterior of your home. There is also a Starlink app for Android and iOS that uses augmented reality to help customers choose the best location and position for their receivers.
How much does starlink cost?
The service was initially charged at $99 per month, plus taxes and fees, plus a down payment of $499 for the installable satellite dish and router you’ll need to install at home. In March 2022, despite earlier predictions by SpaceX executives that hardware costs would decrease over time, SpaceX raised those prices to $110 per month and $599 up front for hardware.
The price is high for an internet connection, especially one that doesn’t match the speed of a fiber connection, but Musk is betting that the cost will be worth it for people who have so far lived without access to a reliable and fast connection, so some.
Where is Starlink available – How does Starlink work
According to Musk, the list of countries currently served by the growing network of low Earth orbit satellites includes the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Ireland, Belgium, Switzerland, Denmark, Portugal, Australia and New Zealand. Starlink’s pre-order agreement includes options to order the service in other countries as well, including Italy, Poland, Spain and Chile.
There’s still a way to go – Starlink will likely need at least 10,000 satellites in orbit before it can fully service most of the world (and SpaceX has shown signs that it wants as many as 42,000 satellites in the constellation) . Currently, only about 20% of the way there is, at best, with coverage focused on areas between 45 and 53 degrees north latitude.
Musk remains optimistic about Starlink’s schedule. During an interview at the 2021 Mobile World Congress, Musk said Starlink will reach availability worldwide, except for the North and South poles starting in August. In early June, Shotwell expressed a similar opinion and said that Starlink will reach global service capability sometime this fall.
“We have successfully deployed about 1,800 satellites, and when all of those satellites reach their operational orbit, we will have continuous global coverage, so it should be like the September deadline,” he said.
Why satellite at all? Isn’t the fiber faster?
Fiber, or internet delivered over a fiber-optic cable on the ground, provides upload and download speeds that are actually much faster than satellite internet — but as companies like Google will tell you, there’s nothing quick in deploying the infrastructure needed to get fibers to people’s role . That’s not to say there is something simple about launching satellites into space, but with fewer smart competitors — and far less bureaucracy to contend with — there is reason to believe that services like Starlink will reach internet-free places long before fiber.
And don’t forget that what we’re talking about is Elon Musk. SpaceX is the only company on the planet with a landable, reusable rocket capable of delivering payload after payload into orbit. This is a huge advantage in the commercial space race. In addition, Musk said in 2018 that Starlink will help provide SpaceX with the revenue it needs to fund the company’s long-term ambition to establish a base on Mars.
If that day comes, it’s also possible that SpaceX will try to create a satellite constellation on the Red Planet as well. This means that Starlink customers are potentially guinea pigs for Mars wireless networks of the future.
“If you send a million people to Mars, you better offer some form of connection,” Shotwell said in 2016, speaking of the company’s long-term vision for Starlink. “I don’t think people who go to Mars will be satisfied with some horrible old radios. They will want their iPhone or Android devices on Mars.”
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