Starlink Project: Starlink broadband is slated to provide broadband services in India by 2022. The Elon Musk-Backed company has now made pre-orders available on a first-come-first-serve basis for users in India. SpaceX plans to launch two Starlink Project ‘s within a span of three days, the first one on October 18, and the next on October 21. The aerospace company’s Starlink satellite network has over 700 satellites in the low Earth orbit. Starlink Project is targeting services in the Northern U.S. and Canada in 2020, rapidly expanding to near global coverage of the populated world by 2021.
- Internet connectivity is expected to be made available to Indian users in 2022 through satellites that SpaceX will launch in orbit.
- Starlink notes that its satellite broadband will require a clear field of view.
- Starlink Project is reportedly looking to eventually deliver high-speed internet of up to 1 Gbps downloading or uploading speed to its users.
- 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
- SpaceX is developing low latency, broadband internet system to meet the needs of consumers across the globe. Enabled by a constellation of low earth orbit.
- Latency is an element that contributes to network speed.
- A so-called low latency network connection is one that generally experiences small delay times, while a high latency connection generally suffers from long delays.
- Starlink is a satellite-based broadband network, with the objective of eventually building a low-cost, satellite-based broadband network capable of delivering internet access to the entire globe.
- While satellite internet has been around for ages, it has generally suffered from high latency, unreliable connections, and spotty service areas.
- With Starlink Project, SpaceX intends to put a “constellation” of satellites in low earth orbit, thereby providing high-speed, cable-like internet to every corner of the planet.
- SpaceX will need to launch 4,425 satellites into orbit to achieve its desired coverage.
Low Earth orbit (LEO)
- A low Earth orbit (LEO) is normally at an altitude of less than 1000 km but could be as low as 160 km above Earth – which is low compared to other orbits but still very far above Earth’s surface.
- By comparison, most commercial airplanes do not fly at altitudes much greater than approximately 14 km, so even the lowest LEO is more than ten times higher than that.
- Unlike satellites in geostationary orbit (GEO) that must always orbit along Earth’s equator, LEO satellites do not always have to follow a particular path around Earth in the same way – their plane can be tilted.
- This means there are more available routes for satellites in LEO, which is one of the reasons why LEO is a very commonly used orbit.
- LEO’s close proximity to Earth makes it useful for several reasons.
- It is the orbit most commonly used for satellite imaging, as being near the surface allows it to take images of higher resolution.
- It is also the orbit used for the International Space Station (ISS), as it is easier for astronauts to travel to and from it at a shorter distance.
- Satellites in this orbit travel at a speed of around 7.8 km per second; at this speed, a satellite takes approximately 90 minutes to circle Earth, meaning the ISS travels around Earth about 16 times a day.
- However, individual LEO satellites are less useful for tasks such as telecommunication, because they move so fast across the sky and therefore require a lot of effort to track from ground stations.
- Instead, communications satellites in LEO often work as part of a large combination or constellation, of multiple satellites to give constant coverage.
Pros & Cons of Satellite Internet/Starlink Project
- Available nearly everywhere.
- Broadband-level speeds possible.
- Cost effective compared to mobile hotspots.
- Quick recovery post-disaster.
- You don’t need a phone line for satellite internet.
- Satellite internet connections can handle high bandwidth usage, so your internet speed/quality shouldn’t be affected by lots of users or “peak use times.”
- High latency
- Slower than cable and fiber
- Vulnerable to bad weather
- Won’t support a VPN
Other Competitors of Starlink Project
- Google may be messing around with balloons (Project Loon), but Facebook is developing a satellite in the house named “Athena” specifically to offer internet service to underdeveloped areas.
- SpaceX designs, manufactures and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft.
- The company was founded in 2002 to revolutionize space technology, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets.
- SpaceX has gained worldwide attention for a series of historic milestones.
- It is the only private company capable of returning a spacecraft from low Earth orbit, which it first accomplished in 2010.
- The company made history again in 2012 when its Dragon spacecraft became the first commercial spacecraft to deliver cargo to and from the International Space Station.
- SpaceX successfully achieved the historic first reflight of an orbital class rocket in 2017, and the company now regularly launches flight-proven rockets.
- In 2018, SpaceX began launching the world’s most powerful operational rocket by a factor of two.
- Building on the achievements of Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy, SpaceX is working on a next generation of fully reusable launch vehicles that will be the most powerful ever built, capable of carrying humans to Mars and other destinations in the solar system.