New Zealand emergency responders are using SpaceX's Starlink after Cyclone Gabrielle caused Internet outages this week. The Category 3 cyclone entered the island nation on Sunday, February 12, and officials declared a state of emergency on Tuesday after experiencing severe widespread flooding and landslides. The high winds and water inundation caused destruction of homes and vital infrastructures.
“The Starlink team is coordinating with the National Emergency Management Agency and other partners in New Zealand to support connectivity during recovery efforts after Cyclone Gabrielle,” the company announced on February 16. “This is only the third time in New Zealand’s history that they have declared a national state of emergency. In times of crisis, access to reliable connectivity is critical to connecting loved ones, alleviating hardship, and keeping people safe,” stated SpaceX.
“During the storm, while some users experienced brief outages as a result of ground station failovers, Starlink was able to maintain >99% network uptime across New Zealand,” the company shared. Starlink is perhaps the easiest satellite communications infrastructure to setup, simply plug the Starlink user terminal to an electricity source and in less than ten minutes an entire community can have access to reliable internet. SpaceX’s Starlink has demonstrated to be reliable for emergency responders to coordinate operations to help civilians during natural disasters.
As of today, SpaceX operates approximately 3,600 Starlink satellites in Low Earth Orbit that provide internet directly to user terminals. The company already provides service to over one million subscribers globally.
The Starlink team is coordinating with @NZcivildefence and other partners in New Zealand to support connectivity during recovery efforts after Cyclone Gabrielle— SpaceX (@SpaceX) February 16, 2023
During the storm, while some users experienced brief outages as a result of ground station failovers, Starlink was able to maintain >99% network uptime across New Zealand— SpaceX (@SpaceX) February 16, 2023
Information to support farmers, growers, whenua Māori owners and the rural communities below ⬇️⬇️ https://t.co/YfGOLZP1iD— National Emergency Management Agency (@NZcivildefence) February 16, 2023
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Featured Image Source: SpaceX Starlink.com
About the Author
Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.