Get Ready for 5G Anywhere in the World: SpaceX Begins StarLink Internet Project
By Rechelle Ann Fuerte
SpaceX will soon be launching the first demo satellites for its global StarLink Internet Project. Elon Musk hopes to provide 5G Internet to every corner of the planet.
In 2015, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced his desire to launch a multibillion-dollar satellite Internet network project. According to the tech billionaire, the fledgling program, known as the StarLink Internet project, will provide “cheaper and faster broadband internet access” to people worldwide.
Nearly three years after the announcement, and following the successful launch of the Falcon Heavy, the first satellites for the high-speed Internet network are now ready for launch.
The company will soon be testing its first two satellites, Microsat 2A and 2B, which are headed for low-Earth orbit aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9.
According to documents filed by the Federal Communications Commission, the satellites were initially slated to be launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California last Sunday.
However, the Musk-owned space agency scrapped its plans on Saturday, moving it to Wednesday, February 21st.
The StarLink Internet Project
According to SpaceX, the crew at the Vandenberg launchpad required additional time to run some final checkouts of the upgraded fairing that will be used to protect Falcon 9’s precious payload.
The StarLink Internet project is considered one of the most ambitious of Musk’s goals. To date, the largest existing low-Earth orbiting constellation is owned by Iridium, a communication’s company that is currently on its way to launch 75 Iridium Next satellites into space.
However, if SpaceX succeeds in turning StarLink into reality, the company will be putting over 4,000 satellites in orbit around Earth in the next five years. A far cry from Iridium’s 75 satellites.
The stakes are high as Musk and his space agency are on a direct collision course with some of the world’s biggest telecom and satellite manufacturing companies.
According to the FCC, around 14 million Americans residing in rural regions of the country, together with approximately 1.2 million Americans on tribal lands, currently do not have access to any broadband services.
“I have asked my colleagues to join me in supporting this application and moving to unleash the power of satellite constellations to provide high-speed internet to rural Americans,” said Pai. the current chairman of the FCC.
“IF ADOPTED, IT WOULD BE THE FIRST APPROVAL GIVEN TO AN AMERICAN-BASED COMPANY TO PROVIDE BROADBAND SERVICES USING A NEW GENERATION OF LOW-EARTH ORBIT SATELLITE TECHNOLOGIES.”
The realization of Musk’s StarLink Internet project would be a huge game changer. It would transform the current state of Internet services not just in the United States, but across the globe.
It has been reported that StarLink will offer broadband speeds similar to fiber optic networks. This would create a potential blanket connection across the electromagnetic spectrum.
SpaceX’s satellites may offer a direct-to-consumer wireless connection, a new option that will likely receive tons of blowback from current communications companies.
Once in space, the Microsat 2A and 2B satellites will help SpaceX researchers validate the design and functionality of the platform within the next 20 months. The company is targeting an instantaneous launch window at around 6 AM Pacific time on Wednesday.