728 Successfully deployed satellites is one step closer to global broadband coverage
From the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk launched his twelfth Starlink Mission on Tuesday morning. With this latest launch from the company, SpaceX is now just a few dozen satellites away from providing a significant portion of North America with broadband access.
SpaceX started the Starlink project in 2019 with the goal of creating a constellation of satellites that will eventually provide the entire world with broadband Internet. After this morning’s launch— which carried 60 satellites—there are a reported 728 total satellites in orbit, just under the 800 required to achieve the goal across a moderate section of America.
With the 728 alone, however, SpaceX has already hit a milestone. According to Musk in a Tweet, Starlink is now able to run a public beta test in the northern U.S. and parts of southern Canada.
Eventual wide-adoption could break cable monopolies, increase decentralization and freedom
Starlink has been running private beta tests since July, allowing a handful of SpaceX employees and emergency service personnel to try out the system. Already, it has done some good in the world, as first responders in rural Washington state reportedly used Starlink to efficiently communicate during this summer’s wildfires.
Optimistically, people in rural parts of the world are the ones who stand to benefit the most from Starlink. Rather than settle for slow or outmoded forms of internet connection, Starlink will provide fast broadband to even the most remote regions. For this reason, SpaceX has applied to the Federal Communications Commission’s $16-billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund to bridge the country’s digital divide.
In modern America—especially since COVID-19 has rendered so much remote and online—quality Internet access is nothing short of a necessity. Sadly, not all Americans have broadband, leaving troves of people without the proper tools for effective communication, information, and even education. Starlink could be the answer to this crisis of disconnection.
The project still has a ways to go, but the public beta could be a big step towards a brighter future. Already hundreds of thousands are interested in Starlink, and the public beta will better reflect its performance and utility on a broader scale.
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