SpaceX currently operates the world’s largest broadband constellation with around 1,740 satellites in orbit, most operating in low Earth orbit at an altitude of approximately 550-kilometers. Operating in low altitudes enables the satellites to beam high-speed internet with much lower latency than broadband satellites operating in higher orbital planes. Overall, the Starlink constellation could have over 12,000 satellites to connect areas around the globe that have unreliable internet service.
SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said in June that Starlink will be capable of providing global internet coverage by September, when they expect all satellites will reach their operational altitudes. She also shared that Starlink is providing internet service to 11 countries. Some of the countries SpaceX is actively beaming Starlink internet to include: portions of the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Belgium, France, Austria, Netherlands, Australia, and New Zealand. In June SpaceX founder Elon Musk said Starlink achieved connecting around 69,420 users, now the company is providing internet service to 20,000 more users.
On July 29, SpaceX officials had a conference call with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) leaders in which they shared that the constellation is already providing service to around 90,000 users across 12 countries – according to an official document first-found by CNBC reporter Michael Sheetz (linked below). In only one month the Starlink constellation was able to connect 20,000 more users who pre-ordered the service via Starlink.com. Musk previously said that Starlink will be capable of connecting half-a-million users over the course of the next 12 months.
SpaceX also told the FCC it is working on the next-generation satellites that will feature significant improvements that will enhance the network. The company said that it would ‘leverage advanced capabilities of Starship’ to deploy the next-generation satellites. The Starship spacecraft is under development in South Texas and will likely be able to initiate cargo missions sometime in 2022. Shotwell said that Starship will be capable of launching 400 satellites at once. The company's Falcon 9 rocket only deploys 60 satellites per mission. Starship would enable them to complete the constellation faster to serve more customers worldwide.
Featured Image Source: SpaceX
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.