SpaceX, Elon Musk’s private American aerospace company, yesterday launched an additional 60 Starlink satellites into orbit, bringing the total number of satellites in the Starlink constellation to 422. That’s enough, says Musk, to provide minimal internet coverage, and marked the 84th Falcon 9 flight.
Approximately the size of a table and weighing 500 lbs., each Starlink satellite beams information through space, traveling 47% faster than in fiber-optic cable, according to Business Insider.
By hovering lower than current satellites, Starlink satellites also promise improved latency improvement over current satellite internet services, which use large spacecrafts orbiting 22,236 miles above Earth.
Because there is no need to lay down fiber-optic cables and because they can carry large amounts of data quickly, Starlink satellites have the potential to bring internet coverage to previously hard — and in some cases, nearly impossible — to reach places.
According to Musk, at least 400 Starlink crafts were needed before SpaceX can roll out minimal internet coverage, while at least 800 satellites are required for moderate coverage.
While that is lot of spacecrafts, especially for moderate coverage, the FCC has actually given SpaceX regulatory approval to eventually launch a fleet of up to 12,000 Starlink broadband stations.
This will take time, of course. In the meantime, though, SpaceX is considering providing an interim level of service over parts of the Earth later this year, once 720 satellites have reached orbit.
―RCR Wireless News