What is Starlink? Elon Musk is building a satellite constellation

Space Science
Starlink

An illustration depicting the Starlink network. (REAL Engineering / YouTube)

MYSTERY WIRE — What is Elon Musk up to? Launching 60 more satellites? And how many more to go?

He’s building a new Internet service. You’ll access it using a device he describes this way:

Business Insider reports that Musk said in 2015 that these Internet terminals would cost $100 to $300. But the industry standard right now is around a cost of about $1,000. The article estimates that if Starlink could capture 3% of the market for internet service in the world, it would produce $30 billion in revenue.

The service could be available in mid-2020, according to Space News.

A report by Ars Technica provides a look about the scope of the project and the milestones it has already reached.

You might already recognize the name: Starlink. When SpaceX launches a rocket, it’s very likely that it is deploying Starlink satellites. The number of satellites is so enormous that it’s not referred to as a network … it’s a constellation.

There are going to be so many satellites that astronomers are already getting speaking out about skies “polluted” with satellites that interfere with telescope viewing.

There are currently 180 Starlink satellites. The ones that went into orbit on Monday — 60 of them — are still ascending to their proper orbit level. There are 20 more launches planned this year.

Since the Monday launch, SpaceX now has more satellites aloft than any other private company. There are an estimated 2,200 satellites above the Earth — total. Starlink’s goal by the end of the decade will dwarf that number. How’s this sound: 42,000 satellites. Musk currently has licensing for 12,000.

A string of Starlink satellites photographed shortly after a launch.

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