SpaceX is well on its way to being a global internet service provider. By using a huge lattice of hundreds of satellites, SpaceX’s Starlink mission aims to eventually cover the globe with high speed internet. Everywhere will have internet!
The tip of Everest will have internet. The middle of the Sahara Desert will have internet. That annoying corner in your house will have internet. The rains down in Africa… will have internet.
Anyone who wants access to the internet can have it. This will give many people born in countries and areas without internet infrastructure a voice on the global stage. We’ll listen to, and be heard by children in incredibly remote areas of the world. Information will flow more freely. People will be able to use that new knowledge to better themselves and their communities.
So How Does Starlink Work?
Starlink will work by beaming internet from the closest satellite down to a receiver roughly “the size of a pizza box.” SpaceX would sell these receivers but it’s highly likely that they would want to make them as cheaply as possible. This would allow them to grow their service which is the main point of monetization. This is just speculation, but i would bet a large number of receivers would be donated to rural areas as an act of philanthropy
How Many Satellites Will It need?
Lots. Looooooooots of little satellites. But they can do it.
Because SpaceX has advanced rocket science so far, they can benefit from the massive increase in launch capacity their re-usable rockets bring. They can launch a LOT of satellites into orbit very cheaply, relatively speaking. SpaceX already launched 60 test satellites May 23, 2019 and have been approved for 12,000 by the FCC. They have also applied for an additional 30,000.
To put this in perspective, if they launch all 42,000 satellites they’ve applied for, SpaceX will be responsible for 5X the amount of spacecraft Launched by humanity. They plan to achieve this by having their falcon 9 rockets working overtime. They may have as many as 24 launches next year just to serve the southern US.
Until more satellites get deployed there are still a lot of questions we just have to wait and see about. Still connecting all of humanity to such a degree is an incredibly exciting prospect! As such I’ll keep this post updated as things come out.
If you’re a big SpaceX fan like me, you can read about a asteroid defection test they’re going to launch in the future.
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