Featured Image Source: SpaceX / FCC document
SpaceX is in the process of building its Starlink broadband internet network that will offer service worldwide to fund future missions to the moon and Mars. The aerospace company has been deploying internet-beaming Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit. As of today, there is a total of 540 satellites in space, out of the 12,000 SpaceX plans to deploy. The next deployment of 57 satellites is scheduled for this month [date pending]. Company officials said 800 satellites will offer "moderate" internet coverage; 60 Starlink satellites can provide service to 40,000 customers streaming high-definition videos simultaneously. “With performance that far surpasses that of traditional satellite internet, and a global network unbounded by ground infrastructure limitations, Starlink will deliver high-speed broadband internet to locations where access has been unreliable, expensive, or completely unavailable,” the company website states.
The founder at SpaceX Elon Musk shared customers will receive Starlink’s signal from space via circle-shape user terminals that look like a “UFO on a Stick,” pictured below. The network will be easy to set-up at home – “Starlink terminal has motors to self-orient for optimal view angle. No expert installer required. Just plug in & give it a clear view of the sky,” Musk said, “Can be in garden, on roof, table, pretty much anywhere, so long as it has a wide view of the sky.” He also says the Starlink network will beam low latency, high-speed broadband internet designed to run real-time, competitive video games – “We're targeting latency below 20 milliseconds (ms), so somebody could play a fast-response video game at a competitive level, like that's the threshold for the latency.”
Starlink terminal has motors to self-orient for optimal view angle. No expert installer required. Just plug in & give it a clear view of the sky. Can be in garden, on roof, table, pretty much anywhere, so long as it has a wide view of the sky.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 14, 2020
Today, July 14, the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved the operation of “Starlink Routers.” The document reveals a photograph of how the bottom of the device looks, pictured below. The triangular device appears to be a Wi-Fi connection router, that could act as a link between the outdoor terminal and the customer’s computer devices. Though, exact details have not yet been released by SpaceX officials on how the Starlink Router will operate, nor details on whether it will work alongside the terminal. According to the FCC document, the device will be capable of receiving and transmitting signals from the Starlink terminals and satellites. The device's label indicates it is "Made in Taiwan' by a company named "Wistron NeWeb Corp." The corporation is a manufacturing facility that provides high-quality services for communications products.
Source: SpaceX application to the Federal Communication Commission
SpaceX is targeting to offer Starlink service in the Northern United States and Canada in 2020. Then expand into a global network by 2021. Yesterday, the company sent e-mails to individuals living in northern parts of the country asking for their specific address to “improve their ability to provide location-specific updates” of service roll-out. Those who live in Northern parts of America’s hemisphere will have the opportunity to become the first Beta testers of the service. "Starlink private beta begins this summer with public beta to follow. If you are signed up for updates, we will notify you if beta opportunities become available in your area," the company wrote in the e-mail. SpaceX also updated its Starlink website this week. They added a new page that says ‘Customer Login’ indicating that service roll-out could occur soon! You can find out when Starlink will be available in your city via SpaceX's website: STARLINK UPDATES
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.