Ask any science fiction enthusiast and they’ll tell you that SpaceX’s goal of launching thousands of satellites into low-Earth orbit in order to provide high-speed internet to all corners of the globe might sound like the stuff of dreams, but it’s closer to reality than you think!
Elon Musk himself announced today that major new updates are on the way for Starlink, which will let it deliver speedy internet faster than ever before! Here’s what you need to know about Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites!
What Is SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies Corporation)?
SpaceX is a space exploration company founded by entrepreneur and innovator Elon Musk. The company, which was initially named SpaceX, has developed low-cost rockets with reusable boosters as well as advanced human-rated spacecraft. It launched its first rocket into orbit in June 2010, and then again in December of that year. In 2012, SpaceX became the first commercial company to launch a liquid-propellant rocket into orbit around Earth. Since then, it has been delivering payloads to ISS via its Dragon Cargo Vehicle (the unmanned version of Dragon).
On May 25, 2012, SpaceX successfully delivered a stack of three spacecraft to orbit for use in space experiments. The company has continued to complete resupply missions for NASA ever since and has started working on a crewed version of Dragon. In September 2016, SpaceX became a commercial player in international satellite launches when it launched an Indonesian satellite aboard its Falcon 9 rocket. In February 2018, SpaceX announced plans to launch 4,425 low-Earth orbit satellites into space in order to provide high-speed internet coverage across Earth. The launch is scheduled for late 2019 or early 2020.
As of 2017, SpaceX employs more than 4,000 people and has over 50 active space missions on its launch manifest. It is headquartered in Hawthorne, California. The company was founded by Elon Musk, who serves as CEO and lead designer. According to regulatory filings with Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), SpaceX had a private equity value of US$21 billion as of June 2016. In December 2015, SpaceX raised US$1 billion in funding for future space exploration endeavours from Google and Fidelity Investments. In March 2017, it was announced that an agreement had been reached for SpaceX to take over historic Launch Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral after having leased it previously.
The Future of Internet Satellites
Internet satellites, or Starlink as they are officially called, will be more than 4,000 times faster than current internet connections. They’ll deliver speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second—which is roughly 100 times faster than most internet connections here on Earth today. As you might imagine, all that speed won’t come cheap. Even before we’ve been offered a price tag on Starlink service, we can probably assume it will cost more than what we pay for current home Internet packages (though maybe not as much as it costs to get ultra-fast fibre optic cable installed in your home). In 2022 when these first batches of satellites are finally launched into orbit and available for use, expect to see companies and individual consumers racing to subscribe.
Starlink is important, but it’s also just a stepping stone. I’m most excited about what comes after Starlink. SpaceX will continue to launch new satellites as needed to build out our orbit constellation until we can provide people in low-density regions—most of Earth—with fast internet service. Our focus then will turn to scale our technology across the globe, said Musk on an earnings call with analysts and investors in May 2018. He said that he sees speed and availability eventually reaching most of Earth over time. But who knows how long that will take?
If you’re reading this and scratching your head over what all of that means for you, don’t worry. At least for now, it doesn’t mean much. You’ll need to wait a few years before satellite Internet comes to your neighbourhood. And even then it might not be worth paying extra if you have a service that meets your needs already.
Where are the plans going now?
You might have missed it but in November, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk officially announced that his company plans to put over 4,400 new satellites into orbit. The new constellation of satellites is being called Starlink and its aim is to bring low-cost broadband internet access to consumers all around the world. According to a recent FCC filing from SpaceX, we now know that a total of 40 launch attempts will be made between 2019 and 2023. This plan involves launching an array of 700 satellites into orbit at least every two weeks for two years. As you can imagine, these steps are going to require careful coordination and planning—something that SpaceX takes very seriously.
While these timelines may seem rather ambitious, SpaceX is confident that it can pull it off. In a statement to The Verge, a company spokesperson said we are committed to our manifest of 70/80 launches for 2019–2021 and beyond. This reflects Musk’s belief that if everything goes according to plan, SpaceX will have its entire constellation of 4,425 satellites in orbit by 2024. The new satellites are expected to provide super-fast internet speeds over large distances. In fact, they’re expected to provide up to 10Gbps upload and download speeds—equivalent to your home broadband service but from space!
The aim is to provide high-speed internet service for people who can’t afford it or are in areas with poor coverage. If successful, it would be a revolutionary step forward and change how we get access to one of our most basic needs—the internet. Just how fast will these new speeds be? In a tweet, SpaceX revealed that download speeds will range from 250 megabits per second (Mbps) to 1 gigabit per second (Gbps), which would allow you to download an HD movie in less than two minutes. Meanwhile, upload speeds will vary from 50 Mbps to 150 Mbps, allowing you to send an HD movie in about 25 seconds. That’s pretty impressive stuff!
Who will be involved in building this satellite network?
A huge corporation was just named to help build Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite network. The company will be responsible for helping design and deploy these satellites so that they can be used by customers in 2022. If all goes according to plan, one day there could be thousands of small satellites in orbit around Earth providing connectivity for millions of people. At least, that’s what some experts think will happen if everything goes as planned. But is it possible? Some are saying yes and that we should keep our eyes on 2022…
That’s when major new updates from Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite network may be announced. We could see big changes coming soon and a lot of interest surrounding how much access we might have to these satellites in 2022. Will you get access? Is Starlink available in 2022? These are important questions and they don’t have clear answers yet. That said, you can bet that many people will want to know more about them very soon… If you want to know more about how you might use Elon Musk’s new network in 2022, then make sure you stay tuned because things are going to get interesting very soon! Don’t miss out on what comes next—stay up-to-date with news about upcoming changes for Elons’ SpaceX project!
Don’t miss out on what comes next—stay up-to-date with news about upcoming changes for Elons’ SpaceX project! We’ll keep you posted on any major new updates that are announced. Stay tuned and subscribe to our mailing list. It will make sure you never miss any important news about space projects or future announcements for Starlink… Make sure you sign up before it’s too late. The future is coming sooner than expected, so make sure you’re prepared with information from experts when these satellites finally launch in 2022.
Does it make sense for Google to partner with SpaceX?
As part of his recent interview with Axios, Elon Musk announced that we can expect several major new updates to Starlink satellites in 2022. While he did not give any specifics as to what these updates will entail, he did mention that they would focus on making his orbital internet service more affordable and accessible for all users. As a result, we can expect prices to drop significantly so that customers who currently do not have access to high-speed internet can subscribe and get online using a satellite. At present, there are more than 4 billion people around the world who still do not have access to internet services; having affordable access via satellite will be an important step toward closing that gap.
In order to make SpaceX’s satellite system accessible to a much wider range of users, it would make sense for Google to partner with them and provide significant support in terms of processing speed and storage capacity. Google has built its empire on providing easy-to-use internet services at affordable prices; indeed, they have been doing so ever since it first introduced its search engine back in 1997. The collaboration between SpaceX and Google will be a win-win situation as they can leverage each other’s strengths to enable more people around the world to get online. With more than four billion people who still do not have access to high-speed internet services, there is certainly ample room for growth in terms of the user base.
I think it does make sense for Google to partner with SpaceX. Google will be able to increase its presence in emerging markets and thus improve its global revenues; in return, SpaceX will have access to a wealth of advanced technology which it can use to further develop its business model and take things to an entirely new level. The partnership is certainly worth exploring.
Why is this even a big deal?
Sometimes it seems like we get too wrapped up in our day-to-day lives to see just how quickly things can change around us. Today, for example, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced a major new update on his company’s Starlink satellite project that will mean big changes for Internet connectivity worldwide. If you want to hear about what those changes are and when you can expect them, stick around; we’ve got all your answers right here.
It’s no secret that getting online around most of the world is a struggle. Even today, almost half of all humans don’t have access to high-speed Internet connections at home, and in poorer countries and rural areas, that number can be as high as 80%. This is often due to poor or nonexistent infrastructure for building new networks, but space startup SpaceX thinks it has an answer: space. But not just any kind of space; in March 2018, SpaceX launched its first batch of Starlink satellites into orbit above Earth.
And today, Musk has announced that Starlink is now operating in solar swarm mode, meaning that all of its satellites are now operational and communicating with each other. This is a huge development—not only does it mean that people can expect global coverage from SpaceX’s new satellite network, but it also means a faster Internet. According to Musk, speeds will be 2 to 4 times faster than current average broadband speeds. To put that into perspective: That speed increase would be at least twice as fast as Google Fiber (which was revolutionary for rural customers when it first launched) and about 25 times faster than Verizon Fios.
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