SpaceX, run by US billionaire Elon Musk, has been able to connect Starlink to seven continents of the world, including Antarctica.
This follows the successful launch of 54 new satellites within Starlink’s space Internet network, bringing its current total to 3,130.
What is Starlink?
SpaceX, which specializes in space exploration and flight services, established in 2015 an internal sector called “Starlink”, which specializes in the provision of space Internet services based on low-orbit satellites around the Earth; at an altitude of 550 kilometers from the Earth’s surface.
After a series of attempts and experiments, Starlink was able to launch its first experimental satellites into space in 2018, and since then, the number of satellites deployed in low orbit around Earth has reached more than 3,000.
Starlink’s idea is focused on providing Internet services to all human beings, especially in remote areas where there is no infrastructure in place to allow its residents to access the terrestrial Internet, based on ground cables, as well as the lack of good coverage of wireless mobile networks, according to the company’s website.
Starlink also provides Internet connectivity in times of crisis and natural disasters, such as the provision of the Internet in Ukraine after the start of the Russian military operation that significantly affected communications, making Starlink the only Internet source in Ukraine’s interior.
In July, SpaceX introduced a new Starlink Maritime service, offering strong Internet connectivity on board ships and marine vehicles during its movement.
How to get Starlink?
Access to space Internet services from Starlink relied on ground reception equipment, a receiver dish installed at the top of the house, connected to a device that distributed the signal wirelessly inside the house, which fully acts as a “router”.
Starlink has been progressively expanding the reach of its service delivery over the past two years, with up to 500 people being sold globally.
According to the service site, space Internet speeds with Starlink range from 50MB to 250MB per second, at home usage level, while speeds are up to 350MB per second for Starlink Business subscribers.
Earlier this month, the company had made it possible for home netizens to have access to sophisticated receiver platforms, which were dedicated only to the business sector, opening up space internet access at speeds ranging from 150 MB to 350MB per second.
The rate of communication delay varies from 20 to 40 milli seconds, but the service indicated that this is expected to improve significantly over the coming period, with more satellites being launched, as well as the expansion of ground receiving stations.
But measuring those speeds with the maximum optical fibre-based Internet speeds, you’ll find that the difference is very large, as the speeds of the Internet are up to 2GB per second, which is about 7 times faster.
The subscribers to the home internet service incur a one-time cost of USD 599, for subscription to the service and acquisition of equipment for receiving the signal, from a receiver plate and a router to distribute the signal internally, as well as USD 110 as monthly subscription to the service.
While at the level of the most sophisticated High-Performance receiver platform, the equipment cost rises significantly to $2,500, a one-time cost, while the monthly subscription to the service will be the same as $110.
At Starlink RV, the first cost is $599, but with a $135 monthly subscription.
The cost of Starlink Maritime’s Internet service goes up to $ 10 thousand, with a monthly subscription of $5,000.
Although the cost is higher compared to Starlink’s speed, in front of traditional fibre-optic internet prices and speeds, SpaceX President Gwen Schutt-Weil is of the view that this cost will be significantly reduced over the coming period, especially with the development of satellite design and production processes as well as receivers.
The service website states that the user can subscribe to the service for 30 days, and if he is not satisfied with the service, he can recover the cost of the equipment he carries in full.
Does Starlink Create Chaos in Space?
In addition to Starlink, competitors such as One Web and Phasat – who also run satellite Internet services – place thousands of moons in low Earth orbit.
This will lead to problems, says Said Chancellor. It added that it “makes the space less collision-safe”.
“Satellites can collide with other vehicles and create debris, which in turn can cause more damage at high speeds.”
There were finally a number of imminent errors involving Starlink satellites, including near faults with the Chinese space station.
Dr. King of the University of Portsmouth says “if there are too many fragments, it may render low Earth orbit un usable in the future”.
We may not be able to exit low-Earth orbit into higher orbits, where our navigational and communications satellites are located”.
Starlink satellites also create problems for astronomers.
At sunrise and sunset, it can be seen with the naked eye because the sun’s rays reflect on it.
This may lead to lines appearing on telescope images, obscuring the vision of stars and planets.