Tuesday , July 5 2022

Starlink has shipped 100,000 satellite internet terminals, Musk says

The SpaceX effort to provide satellite internet connections to as many people as possible seems to be picking up steam.

A Starlink antenna dish sitting on top of California’s Mount Diablo.

SpaceX’s budding satellite internet service, Starlink, has shipped 100,000 terminals to customers in 14 countries, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk said in a series of tweets Monday. Per Musk, the list of countries serviced by the growing network of low Earth orbit satellites includes the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Ireland, Belgium, Switzerland, Denmark, Portugal, Australia and New Zealand.

100k terminals shipped!https://t.co/Q1VvqVmJ2i

“Our license applications are pending in many more countries,” Musk added. “Hoping to serve Earth soon!”

Starlink has seen steady momentum this year after launching as a beta service in select regions in October of last year. In February, Musk said the service boasted more than 10,000 customers. Months later, CNBC reported that the number of customers had surged to 90,000, with hundreds of thousands more on the Starlink waitlist. After a series of launches in 2021, the number of satellites in Starlink’s constellation sits at roughly 1,800 (and per the company’s Federal Communications Commission filings, the goal is to expand that constellation to as many as 42,000 satellites in the coming years). 

Earlier this summer, Musk said Starlink would reach global serviceability except for the North and South Poles sometime in August. SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell echoed that basic sentiment, pitching September as the estimated time of arrival for worldwide availability.

“We’ve successfully deployed 1,800 or so satellites, and once all those satellites reach their operational orbit, we will have continuous global coverage, so that should be like [the] September time frame,” Shotwell said.

With its satellites in lower orbits than those of competitors like Hughesnet and Viasat, Starlink is promising to connect people to the web with triple-digit download speeds and lower latency than traditional satellite connections, which will typically feel a bit laggy due to the distance that your data needs to travel. In our first round of hands-on tests, CNET’s John Kim found that Starlink’s speeds varied from day to day, and averaged out to downloads of about 78Mbps at a latency of 36ms. Though not quite as fast as SpaceX is pitching, those are still very good numbers for a satellite internet connection

The quality of Starlink’s connection stands to improve as SpaceX keeps filling out the constellation with additional satellites — though some astronomers have sounded alarms about obstructions to night sky visibility. SpaceX says it’s trying to address those concerns with improved satellite designs that include nonreflective exteriors.

SpaceX didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Musk’s latest tweets.

This Article was first published on cnet.com

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