Featured Image Source: Vernon, Utah Starlink Gateway / diadumenianus via Reddit
SpaceX Starlink users from the United States and abroad have been sharing their experience with becoming a beta internet user. The broadband service is available in portions of the U.S, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, New Zealand, and Australia. SpaceX aims to connect more countries and expand the satellite network’s capabilities as more satellites are launched to low Earth orbit. Many Starlink users have shared via social media they are impressed by the network’s performance that has provided high-speed internet ranging from 50Mbps to 150Mbps; Most recently, Starlink users have experienced fast download speeds up to 400Mbps [megabits per second] and latency from 20ms to 40ms [milliseconds]. SpaceX is already accepting broadband service pre-orders worldwide via Starlink.com.
To receive internet from the satellite constellation, SpaceX is setting up Starlink Gateway ground stations. Ground stations are the linking factor between the satellites in space and the internet data centers on Earth that connect to existing fiber-optic infrastructure which connects to the world wide web. The company plans to build hundreds of these Starlink Gateway stations. However, in the future the satellites will be equipped with lasers which will enable the satellites to beam data to one another without the need for ground stations. In January, SpaceX launched the first batch of 10 satellites to operate in Polar Orbit to service Alaska, which feature "laser links between the satellites, so no ground stations are needed over the poles,” SpaceX founder Elon Musk said. With lasers the Starlink satellites will be capable of transferring hundreds of gigabytes of data. Musk said more upgraded satellites with laser links will be launched until 2022. For now, the satellites require a ground station to transmit data. To date, there are approximately 1,443 satellites, only 10 feature laser links. Overall, SpaceX plans to launch over 12,000 internet-beaming satellites.
SpaceX enthusiasts have found/seen Starlink Gateway stations across the world. They shared photographs of the ground stations via social media. The photos below show stations located in: - Vernon, Utah - Punta Gorda, Florida - Merrillan, Wisconsin, - and in St. John's, a city in Newfoundland and Labrador (NL), Canada. Starlink ground station's have also been seen abroad in the middle of a beautiful forest-like region situated in Whangārei, a city in the North Island of New Zealand, as well as in the United Kingdom at a region close to the Goonhilly Earth Station radiocommunications site of Cornwall, England. “Unmistakably a Starlink ground station in the red circle! Notice the high amount of antennas, looks like it’s fully equipped,” Reddit user TimTri wrote about the U.K sighting. The antennas look like a giant white dome ball that is connected to a internet data center.
Image Source: diadumenianus via Reddit
Punta Gorda, Florida
Image Source: Bitchface_Malone_III via Reddit
Image Source: darkpenguin22 via Reddit
St. John's, Canada
Images Source: andrew867 via Reddit
Whangārei, New Zealand
Image Source: nz365guy via Reddit
Goonhilly Earth Station, United Kingdom
Image Source: Jamie Williams via Twitter
Image Source: TimTri via Reddit
Reddit users compiled a Google map and list with Federal Communications Commission data that shows where Starlink Gateways across the United States will be located, shown in the list below. To access the map visit: Starlink Gateway Google Map
About the Author
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.