Featured Image Source: Merrillan, Wisconsin resident r/darkpenguin22 via Reddit.
SpaceX is building its Starlink internet network in low Earth orbit. The aerospace company plans to fund its space program by offering affordable, low-latency, broadband internet globally. SpaceX initially plans to deploy 4,409 internet-beaming Starlink satellites, according to a recent letter the company sent to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). These satellites will operate at altitudes between 550 to 570 kilometers above Earth. To date, there are approximately 708 Starlink satellites already in low Earth orbit.
Company employees are actively private beta testing the Starlink network via user terminals that look like a ‘UFO on a stick’ and Wi-Fi router. – “They show super-low latency and download speeds greater than 100 [megabits] per second [Mbps],” SpaceX Senior Engineer Kate Tice shared during the latest deployment broadcast, “That means our latency is low enough to play the fastest online video games and our download speeds are fast enough to stream multiple HD movies at once.”
SpaceX plans to buid Starlink ‘Earth Stations’ in several United States cities. The company received temporary FCC authority to test some of these ground stations in July. An FCC document reveals that SpaceX has filed for permission to operate a bit over thirty Starlink ground stations in the United States – only a few locations have been approved for testing so far. The list below are the locations where Starlink ground stations will be located (initially). SpaceX could have hundreds of these stations across the U.S. and ultimately all over the world one day. The stations will provide the linking factor between user terminals and data center for the Starlink network.
Some of the most recent FCC Approved Starlink Ground Stations for Temporary Testing this year include: Hitterdal, Minnesota - Tionesta, California - Robertsdale, Alabama - Baxley, Georgia – Butte/Conrad, Montana - Colburn, Idaho - Inman, Kansas - Vernon, Utah - Punta Gorda, Florida - Merrillan, Wisconsin - Boca Chica beach, Brownsville/Mcgregor, Texas. The images below includes the rest of the locations.
Data Source: Federal Communication Commission, compiled by Wccftech.com
SpaceX previously obtained a Special Temporary Authority (STA) to evaluate Starlink’s communication performance in Texas at McGregor and Boca Chica Beach for one month, this FCC permission expired in June. A Boca Chica Village resident captured the Starlink user terminal antennas installed above small buildings at the company’s Starship assembly facility in South Texas [pictured below]. A Merrillan, Wisconsin resident captured a photo of a Starlink ground station, which also featured Starlink terminals [featured image pictured above].
Most recently, FCC approved testing Starlink ground stations located in Inman, Kansas, and Vernon, Utah; the testing may have already initiated because approvals are set to expire by the end of September. In late August, SpaceX also earned approval to initiate ground station assessment in Punta Gorda, Florida. The test is also expected be conducted over the course of one month. During the tests, SpaceX is granted authority to broadcast signals from the ground stations to the Starlink satellites in space using frequencies in the following Gigahertz (GHz) range: 17GHz. 18GHz, 19GHz, 28GHz, and 29GHz, according to the FCC.
SpaceX is looking forward to connecting locations on Earth where internet connection is unreliable and non-existent. The company aims to roll-out Starlink service in Northern parts of the United States and Canada before this year ends.
Image Captured by: Boca Chica Village resident Mary @bocachicagal via Twitter.
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.