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What is Starlink?
  • Last Updated : 21 Nov, 2019

To know about Starlink first we will see what is constellation? A constellation is a group of bright stars that form a perceivable pattern. We have many types of constellations like Aquila, Aries, Canis Major, etc. We all are mesmerized by seeing the beauty of nature. Truly, God has made this world and universe a really unique place to behold for.
But have you heard of satellite constellations? No right!!! Technology has permitted us to do wonders in today’s world, and satellite constellation is just one example to show us how much our human mind has evolved throughout its existence and what it can do. So let’s get familiar with what satellite constellation is?

So satellite constellation is a collection of satellites being deployed in the orbits of the earth which are at a height of about 1000 kilometers. The satellite constellation is called Starlink. It is being constructed by a very famous company which is known for its astonishing concepts called SpaceX. The constellation of satellites consists of thousands of satellites that are small in size. The constellation is being made to provide satellite internet access. The constellation will work in conjunction with ground transceivers. SpaceX also plans to sell some of the satellites to the military, scientific, and exploration purposes.

As of May 2019, 62 satellites have been deployed. The company plans to deploy 60 satellites per launch. The launch will take place once every two weeks starting from November 2019. In total, about 12,000 satellites will be deployed by the mid of 2020. The number of satellites being deployed may be extended to 40,000 later on. The first 12,000 satellites are planned to orbit the earth in three orbital shells. The first placing will deploy approximately 1,600 satellites at an altitude of 550 kilometers shell. The second placing will deploy about 2,800 KU and KA – band spectrum satellites at an altitude of 1,150 kilometers. The third placing will deploy approximately 7,500 V-band satellites at an altitude of 340 kilometers. The commercial operation is expected to begin by 2020.

The total expenditure of the decade long project to design, build, and deploy the Starlink was estimated by SpaceX to be around $10 billion. The development of the project began back in 2015. The first two prototype test-flight satellites were launched in February 2018. The second set of test satellites which was the first large deployment of a piece of the constellation took place on 24 May 2019 when the first 60 functional satellites were launched. The research facility of SpaceX Satellite Development is located in Richmond, Washington, USA. This facility houses research and development, manufacturing, and in-orbit control operations. So now that you know a brief background about Starlink, you might be wondering as to what advantages we the residents of the earth might benefit from.

The main advantage of this is the Global Broadband Internet. Starlink will provide a broadband internet connection to some of the most hostile areas of the planet, which was just not possible before. This opens up the ability to provide internet to every area on the planet without any sacrifice in the speed of the service. It also aims to provide competitively-priced broadband in urban areas. Once this service has been completely installed, it opens up the ability to access the internet from any part of the planet at a reasonable and affordable price.

It will also help in communication with deep space exploration probes as it’ll have direct communication with the probes without any signal distortion due to the different layers of the earth’s atmosphere. It will also help in communication with the settlements on Mars as planned by the company. What these satellites will do is reduce the delay in sending and receiving messages from distant settlements or probes. The revenue generated from this service will fund the Mars Exploration and Settlement project, as mentioned by the CEO of SpaceX, Elon Musk. Recently, Elon Musk tweeted a tweet on twitter using the servers of Starlink and said, “Sending this tweet through space via Starlink satellite“.

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