SpaceX: Project Starlink

Let’s have a look at Elon Musk’s most expensive ever $100 billion Starlink project. The private company SpaceX’s ambitious Starlink project aims to launch thousands of satellite in low earth orbit region creating a constellation of satellites providing internet anywhere across the globe including the remotest places on earth. 

With around 60 batches of Starlink satellites already launched as of sept. 2020, SpaceX opens Starlink internet satellite to public beta testing recently called "Better Than Nothing Beta." The satellites were launched with Falcon 9 rocket putting 800 satellites already into low earth orbit so far. The company's founder and CEO Elon Musk said earlier that SpaceX needs between 500 and 800 satellites in orbit before the company can begin the service. However, SpaceX, with its expansion plan of megaconstellation, plans to launch thousands more satellites against the initial expected size of 1,440 satellites strong. Now, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has already granted SpaceX permission to launch 12,000 satellites, but the company may has indicated that it will see approval to launch as many as 30,000 of its internet-beaming satellites. That will come with a total of 42,000 low earth orbit satellites constellation and each satellite weighing around 260 kgs. 

What makes Starlink unique? 

Apart from providing internet access to anywhere on earth, the most important properties of Starlink would be its uniquely high internet speed and low latency which are made possible by beaming directly from the constellation of satellites. As we all know, light is the fastest means of transmission of signal since it has the highest speed known in the universe and Optic fibre which uses light is the best choice we have till date. But even optic fibre has its own drawbacks since it let the light travel in its medium and bounces off its wall many times while sending the signal to destination thereby reducing the speed of light in the medium and considerably increasing its path length. 

Starlink, however, can further minimise the limitations of optic fibre cable by beaming the light directly from the satellite into the air or vacuum in which light has its maximum speed and shortest path length. In this way, we can say today's optics fibre cable provides almost the best internet we can have, but starlight can provide even better achieving a latency as low as around 20 ms! Thanks to the SpaceX's Starlink technology.

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