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In January of 2015, Elon Musk shared his vision of creating a constellation of satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) that would provide broadband internet access to the entire planet. Back in May, SpaceX launched the first batch of 60 Starlink satellites to orbit, with plans to send an additional 1,584 to space by 2024 and 2,200 more by 2027.
Naturally, consumers have been wondering when they will be able to avail themselves of this new internet service. As SpaceX Chief Operations Officer Gwynne Shotwell announced on October 22nd, the company should be able to offer broadband access within the US by mid-2020. This came a day after Musk sent the inaugural tweet using Starlink services.
Tweet - Musk - House - Starlink - Terminal
The inaugural tweet was made from Musk’s house using a Starlink terminal at 11:03 PM PST on Oct. 21st (or 02:03 AM EST, on Oct. 22nd). Just two minutes later, Musk followed this up with a second tweet indicating success (saying “Whoa, it worked!”). As always, the reaction from his 29 million twitter followers was a little mixed, with the majority offering congratulations while others demanded proof.
Of course, many others wanted to know when the service would be available for them too. According to Shotwell, SpaceX will need to launch six to eight more batches of satellites to provide continuous service in upper and lower latitude bands. Assuming each launch involves a payload of 60 satellites (as was the case back in May), this will result in a constellation of 360 to 480 satellites.
Order - Coverage - Launches - Satellites - Filings
In order to provide global coverage, they will need at least 24 launches, which will work out to 1,440 satellites. However, based on recent filings, SpaceX is setting its sights much farther than this. Already, the FCC has approved a constellation of up to 12,000 satellites. But recently, the company also filed with...
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