Starlink internet

What exactly is Starlink?

It is a satellite-based global internet system that SpaceX has been building for years to bring internet access to underserved areas of the world. The idea is to beam high-speed, low-latency broadband internet to remote areas.

Starlink is a satellite internet constellation operated by SpaceX providing satellite Internet access to most of the Earth. The constellation consists of over 1600 satellites in mid-2021, and will eventually consist of many thousands of mass-produced small satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO), which communicate with designated ground transceivers. While the technical possibility of satellite internet service covers most of the global population, actual service can be delivered only in countries that have licensed SpaceX to provide service within any specific national jurisdiction. As of November 2021, the beta service offering is available in 20 countries.

How many satellites are part of this constellation?

According to a recent Bloomberg report, SpaceX’s Starlink unit has deployed more than 1,700 satellites to date in low-earth orbit. This number could eventually reach 30,000 if it receives the necessary regulatory approvals and market demand warrants.

How does it work?



There are no ground-based internet cables at play here. These satellites beam information through space. It travels 47% faster than fibre optics cable, according to Space.com. On the ground, these signals are received through a dish, which is also connected to a WiFi router.

The SpaceX satellite development facility in Redmond, Washington houses the Starlink research, development, manufacturing, and orbit control teams. The cost of the decade-long project to design, build, and deploy the constellation was estimated by SpaceX in May 2018 to be at least US$10 billion.

Early-stage planning began in 2014, with product development occurring in earnest by 2017. Two prototype test-flight satellites were launched in February 2018. Additional test satellites and 60 operational satellites were deployed in May 2019. SpaceX launches up to 60 satellites at a time, aiming to deploy 1,584 of the 260 kg (570 lb) spacecraft to provide near-global service by late 2021 or 2022.

On 15 October 2019, the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) submitted filings to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) on SpaceX’s behalf to arrange spectrum for 30,000 additional Starlink satellites to supplement the 12,000 Starlink satellites already approved by the FCC.By 2021, SpaceX had entered into agreements with Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure to provide on-ground compute and networking services for Starlink.

Astronomers have raised concerns about the constellations’ effect on ground-based astronomy and how the satellites will add to an already jammed orbital environment. SpaceX has attempted to mitigate these concerns by implementing several upgrades to Starlink satellites aimed at reducing their brightness during operation. The satellites are equipped with krypton-fueled Hall thrusters which allow them to de-orbit at the end of their life. Additionally, the satellites are designed to autonomously avoid collisions based on uplinked tracking data.

What do the satellites look like?

space x satillite

Each satellite in the Starlink project weighs just 573 pounds (260kg). The body of each satellite is flat, and up to 60 of them can fit into one of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets. Once put in orbit, a single large solar array comes out to power the satellite. The central portion includes four powerful antennas for internet transmissions. Each satellite relies on a set of lasers to connect with four others in orbit. Finally, they have ion thrusters that use krypton gas. This allows them to stay in orbit longer, even at these lower distances from Earth.

How many satellites have launched so far?


SpaceX launched its first test satellites in 2018. This was followed by the first official 60 satellites for the service in 2019. The most recent launch took place in mid-November 2021, with further launches planned for each month of the year. As of this writing, SpaceX has put up about 1,844 satellites into orbit. It’s well beyond the initial projection of 1,440 satellites, and that number means that SpaceX has completed its first “shell” of satellites.

How much will Starlink internet access cost? In a CNN article, an email reportedly from Starlink is inviting people to try out the service. The email claims that it will cost $499 for a one-time cost for the ground hardware and $99 a month for the basic internet service. Starlink has recently developed a new dish that is smaller and lighter than before, named Dishy McFlatface. However, it still costs $499.

By comparison, the HughesNet service costs as much as $150 a month, with a 50GB high-speed data plan (at 25Mbps) and horrible latency that makes gaming impossible, and even tasks like streaming can be quite the chore.

In a CNN article, an email reportedly from Starlink is inviting people to try out the service. The email claims that it will cost $499 for a one-time cost for the ground hardware and $99 a month for the basic internet service. Starlink has recently developed a new dish that is smaller and lighter than before, named Dishy McFlatface. However, it still costs $499.

By comparison, the HughesNet service costs as much as $150 a month, with a 50GB high-speed data plan (at 25Mbps) and horrible latency that makes gaming impossible, and even tasks like streaming can be quite the chore.

The end….