San Francisco: Tech billionaire Elon Musk’s satellite Internet service Starlink has shipped 100,000 terminals to customers, media reports said.
The Starlink project aims to provide global broadband connectivity via a constellation of satellites.
SpaceX began satellite launches in November 2019 and opened its $99 per month beta programme for select customers around a year later.
Since that period, SpaceX has launched more than 1,700 satellites to date and — in addition to the 100,000 shipped terminals — has received over half a million additional orders for the service, TechCrunch reported.
Many of Starlink’s beta customers live in remote or rural areas, where access to conventional broadband is limited or nonexistent. Customers pay a $499 upfront cost for the service, which covers a starter kit to get them off the ground: a user terminal (which SpaceX lovingly refers to as “Dishy McFlatface”), Wi-Fi router, power supply, cables and a mounting tripod, the report said.
The company aims to launch around 30,000 Starlink satellites into orbit, and expand its user pool to millions of customers.
In an application for the next generation Starlink system, submitted to the Federal Communication Commission on August 18, SpaceX proposed two separate configurations for the constellation, one of which would use its next-gen Starship heavy-lift rocket, the report said.
That constellation would top out at 29,988 satellites in total; SpaceX also proposed an alternate configuration using its Falcon 9 rocket. But the obvious advantage of Starship is its massive-size payload capacity.
“SpaceX has found ways to leverage the advanced capabilities of its new launch vehicle, Starship, that has increased capability to deliver more mass to orbit quickly and efficiently and, combined with reuse capability of the upper stage, launch more often,” the company said in the amended application.