SpaceX operates the world's largest broadband satellite constellation with around 3,290 satellites operating in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) that provide high-speed internet to over half-a-million users globally. "Starlink is now on all seven continents!" announced the company on September 14. SpaceX Starlink is now in use at a scientists' United States Antarctic Program (USAP) base in Antarctica that is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF). "In such a remote location like Antarctica, this capability is enabled by Starlink's space laser network," said SpaceX.
The Starlink satellites operating in Polar Orbit feature inter-satellite communication technology that enables the satellites to beam data to each other "so no ground stations are needed over the poles," according to SpaceX founder Elon Musk. The laser link feature significantly speeds-up data transfer rate to Starlink user terminals on Earth. The data speed increases because light travels faster in the vacuum of space compared to fibre-optic cables underground.
"NSF-supported USAP scientists in Antarctica are over the moon! Starlink is testing polar service with a newly deployed user terminal at McMurdo Station, increasing bandwidth and connectivity for science support," shared NSF representatives via Twitter. The station is the largest community in Antarctica, capable of supporting up to 1,258 residents who are conducting research in the region. NSF also shared a photograph of a square-shape Starlink antenna installed on top of the building, linked below. In the distance, you can see the snow covered mountains in Antarctica.
NSF-supported USAP scientists in #Antarctica are over the moon! Starlink is testing polar service with a newly deployed user terminal at McMurdo Station, increasing bandwidth and connectivity for science support. pic.twitter.com/c3kLGk8XBV— National Science Foundation (@NSF) September 14, 2022
According to SpaceX’s official Starlink Coverage Map, the satellite internet is currently available in 43 countries, including: the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, New Zealand, Australia, Austria, Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, Denmark, Chile, Portugal, Switzerland, Poland, Italy, Czech Republic, Sweden, Mexico, Croatia, Lithuania, Spain, Slovakia, Slovenia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, France, Latvia, Tonga, Hungary, Ukraine, Georgia, Luxembourg, Saint Martin, St. Barthelemy, Greenland, Iceland, Estonia, Norway, and Malta.
This year, the company started to provide mobile internet service to cruise ships, airplanes, and RVs. SpaceX offers multiple Starlink internet options to fit its customers' needs, ranging from standard Starlink service for residential use to Starlink 'Business' service for high-demand users. "Starlink Business is now available in France, Germany, Italy, and the UK [United Kingdom]," said SpaceX this week. The 'Business' hardware costs $2,500 USD with a monthly internet subscription fee of $500 USD. The standard Starlink hardware for residential use costs $599 USD with a $110 USD monthly service subscription. Visit SpaceX’s official Starlink.com website for more information.
Featured Images Source: NSF / SpaceX Starlink.com
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.