On February 6, a set of powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquakes struck Turkey and Syria destroying entire neighborhoods and telecommunications infrastructures. The destruction of these utilities make it harder for emergency response teams to coordinate to aid civilians that may be injured. As of Monday afternoon, reports state there’s about 3,800 people who passed away under the piles of rubble. Earthquake aftershocks are still being felt across four nearby countries.
Dr. Mehmet Emin Adin, Assistant Professor of Radiology at Yale, asked SpaceX founder Elon Musk via Twitter if the Starlink broadband constellation could help the affected region. "Hey @elonmusk, a massive earthquake hit Turkey and neighboring countries. Severe communication shortages are happening. Any chance you can help with your starlink satellites?” they asked. – “Starlink is not approved by Turkish government yet. SpaceX can send as soon as approved,” responded Musk. “Thank you! They have declared highest emergency alert. This problem might be solved soon,” replied Dr. Adin.
Starlink is not approved by Turkish government yet. SpaceX can send as soon as approved.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 6, 2023
SpaceX operates approximately 3,580 internet-beaming Starlink satellites in Low Earth Orbit that are already active in around 47 countries. The constellation is capable of being maneuvered over particular regions when there is a serious need of a reliable communication system. Since the satellite network became operational, SpaceX has rushed to aid multiple countries including: Ukraine during the ongoing Russia war invasion, Germany after severe flooding, and the Republic of Tonga after a major volcano eruption destroyed the only fiber-optic cable that was providing internet to the island nation. Starlink has proven to be reliable; it provides high-speed internet to even the most remote places on Earth. Installing Starlink is also simple, the pizza-sized phased array antenna and Wi-Fi router only needs an electricity source to provide internet. In Ukraine, the military used solar power, gas generators, and even cars’ battery cigarette lighter to turn on the Starlink antenna. The satellites directly beam internet to the user terminal which is ideal during emergency situations. For more information visit SpaceX’s official website Starlink.com
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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.