SpaceX Starlink Rebuilding the Internet in Space

Starlink is a giant constellation of satellites in low Earth orbit that can deliver fast and cost effective internet access all around the world. At the Mobile World Congress 2021, Elon Musk discusses the overall strategy around the SpaceX Starlink internet service and the goal to reach 500,000 users in the next 12 months. Starlink is filling in the gaps between 5G and fiber. Starlink will enable the internet connectivity of the hardest to reach 3-5% of the world’s users.

The combined power of the 1500 Starlink satellites has over 5 megawatts of solar power. In August, Starlink will have globally connectivity for everywhere on Earth except the north and south poles. SpaceX is continuing to innovate the interfaces, ground terminals and other components.

Starlink satellites will be at a low orbit 500 kilometer of altitude instead of 36,000 kilometers for geosynch orbit, and will have less than 20 milliseconds of latency.

Starlink has digital phased array systems. This enables microsecond switching of users between different satellites. SpaceX will launch 80% of payload mass to space this year.

SpaceX is getting close to launching Starlink version 1.5 which have laser inter satellite links. This will then be followed by Starlink version 2.0.

SpaceX will be connecting directly to server centers like Youtube and Google. This will reduce any delays and jitter. It will take $5-10 billion to achieve positive cashflow. There will be continued investments afterwards to compete with ground based cellular.

Satellite internet is a game changer for internet connectivity, and potentially a hugely profitable investment. Knowing this, SpaceX is not the only company interested in installing an satellite constellation for connectivity. Many other space minded companies are also developing this idea further.