SpaceX has successfully launched its latest batch of Starlink satellites.
Sunday’s launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, raised the total number of Starlink satellites in low-Earth orbit to more than 800, forming a constellation large enough to send high-speed Internet to Earth.
Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, said the company’s plans to advance tens of thousands of Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit over the next few years, creating a network capable of sending broadband to more than 99 percent of the inhabited world.
“With performance well above traditional satellite internet, and a global network unconstrained by terrestrial infrastructure constraints, Starlink will provide high-speed broadband internet to locations where access was unreliable, costly, or completely unavailable,” he explains. The company’s website.
The network is already in regions of Canada and the northern United States, where a limited number of users have tested it.
Washington State emergency responders have set up a free Wi-Fi hotspot using the Starlink network for Malden residents, which was mostly devastated by bushfires in September.
Earlier this month, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said that a public beta on a larger scale would be possible after launch in October.
“Once these satellites reach their target location, we will be able to roll out a fairly large public test version in the northern United States, hopefully in southern Canada,” he tweeted. “Other countries should follow up once we have received regulatory approval.”
The prospect of thousands of Starlink satellites entering low Earth orbit has raised warnings from some astronomers, who claim that their presence may impede observations and even slow scientific progress.
SpaceX is currently working with observatories and astronomical organizations to discover ways to reduce the impact of satellites. Potential solutions include painting the satellite base black and tilting the solar panels to reduce the sun’s reflection.
In August, hundreds of astronomers put their names behind a report by Satcon1 Workshop that said, “No combination of mitigation processes can completely avoid the effects of satellite trails on the next generation’s science programs.”
Concerns have not slowed Starlink’s rollout, as the next Starlink is scheduled to launch on October 21.
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