THE SpaceX, in Elon Musk, continues to carry out missions to place network satellites Starlink in orbit. When fully operational, they should offer internet access with download rates above 1 Gb / s (gigabit per second). The most recent batch, with 60 satellites, was launched on Tuesday (6).
In fact, the mission was scheduled for the middle of last month. Technical problems prompted SpaceX to postpone the launch until September 28, but at the time, thick clouds that hovered over the Kennedy Space Center (Florida) prevented the procedure.
The launch was rescheduled for October 1, but again, technical problems arose. Finally, on Tuesday, the mission’s Falcon 9 rocket was able to take off to take the 60 satellites into space.
With this launch, the Starlink network now has at least 775 satellites. The function of all of them is one: working in low orbit – distances from Earth vary between 540 km and 570 km – to provide internet in remote regions, areas affected by disasters, missions on the high seas and so on.
The most interesting part of today’s mission is that, right after launch, the very Elon Musk announced on Twitter that the public beta program for testing Starlink’s internet service could open soon, starting in the northern United States and possibly southern Canada.
At some point, the tests may also be carried out in other countries. Everything will depend on regulatory approvals, says Musk in the same message.
In addition to regulatory issues, another factor that limits the testing program is the fact that each participant needs to have access to a small type of satellite dish capable of maintaining permanent communication with the satellites. Technical assistance for installing or maintaining this type of equipment is not yet extensive.
Anyway, there is already a beta program in progress, but closed and therefore limited to a very limited number of participants. Despite this, the tests have already achieved interesting results: in September, the company revealed that download rates above 100 Mb / s (megabits per second) are already possible.
As stated at the beginning of the text, SpaceX plans to offer download rates that reach 1 Gb / s. At the same time, the company wants to keep latency below 20 milliseconds.
These objectives will only be achieved when the Starlink network has a more significant number of satellites in operation. The FCC, an American entity equivalent to Anatel, authorized SpaceX to launch about 12,000 satellites. Half of that total is expected to be in orbit over the next five years.
With information: Ars Technica.