Image Source: Office Chai
Numerous satellites have been placed in orbit by Elon Musk’s company, SpaceX. Many claim to have seen them in the sky. They are a component of the Starlink project, which promises to deliver high-speed internet to rural areas of the Earth from orbit.
Through a vast satellite network, Starlink offers internet services. It is intended for residents of distant locations without access to high-speed internet.
In order to achieve the fastest connection speeds between the satellites and the ground, Starlink’s satellites have been placed in low-earth orbit. To cover the entire planet, however, a large number of low-level satellites are required.
Since 2018, Starlink is thought to have launched about 3,000 of them into orbit. According to Chris Hall, editorial director of the tech website Pocket Lint, it may eventually use 10,000 or even 12,000.
He claims that providing internet connections to remote areas like mountains and deserts may be accomplished by employing satellites. It avoids the need to erect a significant amount of infrastructure, such as cables and masts, in order to reach those locations.
Who will utilize Starlink and how much will it cost?
Starlink is not a cheap internet service provider. Customers must pay $99 (£89 in the UK) per month for it. The $549 (£529 in the UK) dish and router required to connect to the satellites are expensive. However, 96% of UK households and 90% of EU and US households already have access to high-speed internet.
In the 36 countries it now serves, the company claims to have 400,000 members, the majority of whom are located in North America, Europe, and Australia. There are both homes and businesses in this. Africa, South America, and Asia—regions of the world with patchier internet coverage—will all be added to Starlink’s coverage next year.
Although Starlink’s costs could be prohibitive for many African households, they could be crucial in connecting the continent’s isolated schools and hospitals.
Russian soldiers have tried to disrupt social media and shut down Ukrainian internet connections as they have moved into Ukraine. Soon after the invasion began, Elon Musk made Starlink accessible in Ukraine. The nation has received over 15,000 sets of dishes and routers from Starlink.
So far, Starlink has so far managed to keep the government and public services running, as Chris Hall correctly suggests. “The Russians haven’t figured out how to shut it down.”
According to Dr. Marina Miron, a defense studies researcher at Kings College London, it has also been utilized by Ukrainian forces on the battlefield, particularly in the area of communication, such as between headquarters and troops in the field.
It simply takes 15 minutes to set up the kit, and unlike regular radio signals, its signals cannot be jammed.
Does Starlink contribute to space debris?
Thousands of satellites are being launched into low-Earth orbit by competitors of Starlink, like OneWeb and Viasat, who also provide satellite internet services. Sa’id Mosteshar predicts issues as a result of that.
In terms of collisions, he claims that it makes space less and less safe.
There have lately been a series of close misses with Starlink satellites, including near encounters with China’s space station. “Satellites might impact other vessels and create bits of wreckage, and these, in turn, could inflict a lot more harm when traveling at high speeds.”
Astronomers are also experiencing difficulties as a result of Starlink’s satellites. Because the sun glints off their wings, they can be seen with the naked eye at sunrise and dusk. This may result in streaks on telescope photos, which would make it difficult to see stars and planets.