Elon Musk’s ‘superfast global internet’ created by Starlink space probes is about to switch on – and you can sign up
SPACEX is getting ready for a public test of its Starlink satellite internet service.
Last week’s Starlink mission saw another 60 satellites added to the network, meaning there’s now over 700 in Earth’s low orbit.
Musk tweeted last week: “Once these satellites reach their target position, we will be able to roll out a fairly wide public beta in northern US & hopefully southern Canada.
“Other countries to follow as soon as we receive regulatory approval.”
Musk hasn’t stated precisely how long the satellites will take to reach their target position but it’s expected to be fairly quick.
The satellites were tested recently by the public and emergency responders in the town of Malden in Washington during devastating wildfires.
An image of the suspected Starlink dish said to be ‘data mined’ from the official website[/caption]
SpaceX provided locals in the wildfire impacted area Wi-Fi services in a special case scenario to try and help their situation.
Earlier this year, the company asked people who previously expressed interest in the broadband internet for their addresses.
Potential testers who signed up for more information received a SpaceX email asking for their specific location.
Previously, they were only asked for their ZIP codes/postcodes.
The company needs this to work out who will be suitable for the testing process.
As Musk has said, the tests will begin in northern US and southern Canada before branching out.
You can still sign up for information on Starlink via Starlink.com.
New sign-ups will also be asked for their address so they can be informed if a test is coming to their area.
Testers aren’t expected to get a smooth internet experience at first as this will only be a trial and they reportedly won’t be able to publicly tell people about the test.
However, they won’t be paying for the internet trial apart from a very small fee to test the billing system.
They will also receive all the necessary hardware.
Starlink satellites have been providing internet in parts of the northern US since July but this is part of a private beta test.
The Starlink website claims: “With performance that far surpasses that of traditional satellite internet, and a global network unbounded by ground infrastructure limitations, Starlink will deliver high-speed broadband internet to locations where access has been unreliable, expensive, or completely unavailable.”
What is Starlink?
Starlink is a controversial scheme that aims to beam Wi-Fi to people from space using a “mega constellation” of thousands of satellites.
“With performance that far surpasses that of traditional satellite internet … Starlink will deliver high speed broadband internet to locations where access has been unreliable, expensive, or completely unavailable,” the official website explains.
The project is the brainchild of tech billionaire Elon Musk, whose California-based rocket firm SpaceX builds and operates the satellites.
More than 420 have been launched so far, with the network eventually set to reach 12,000, rising to as many as 42,000 in the future.
SpaceX sends its satellites up in batches of 60 at a time. Each group is launched atop an unmanned Falcon 9 rocket built by SpaceX.
The solar-powered tech typically orbits around 340 miles above Earth.
What is SpaceX?
Here’s what you need to know…
SpaceX was founded by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk who still has part ownership of the company with 54 per cent equity and 78 per cent voting control.
SpaceX is a private American aerospace manufacturer that is based in California.
It was founded in 2002 with the goal to build affordable rockets and enable the colonisation of Mars.
The manufacturer also aimed to reduce space transportation costs.
Since its creation, the firm has gained fame primarily as a pioneering rocket firm.
In 2008 it launched the first privately-funded liquid-propellant rocket to reach orbit and later became the first private company to launch an object into orbit around the sun.
The company has grown dramatically over its lifespan, from 160 employees in November 2005 to around 7,000 as of November 2019.
As of March 2018, SpaceX had over 100 launches on its manifest representing about $12billion (£9.24billion) in contract revenue.
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In other space news, Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster has just passed Mars after he blasted it into space back in 2018.
Ancient asteroid Bennu contains the ingredients for life, according to Nasa experts.
And, Musk wants to send humans to Mars as early as 2024 aboard one of the huge rockets.
What are your thoughts on Starlink? Let us know in the comments…
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