Starlink Satellites Brings Internet To Rural Areas

06 Mar 2021

OSR blog post

It has been nearly two years since Elon Musk launched his Starlink satellites into Earth’s atmosphere. Are the satellites doing what they promised by bringing internet service to rural communities? Read on to find out how the project has performed.

In November 2019, Elon Musk’s Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida. It carried 60 Starlink satellites on a mission into Low Earth orbit. As of 27 January 2021, SpaceX has launched 1,035 Starlink satellites. They plan to launch up to 60 more per Falcon 9 flight, with launches as often as every two weeks in 2021. Nearly 12,000 satellites are planned to be deployed, with a possible later extension to 42,000.

Starlink Satellite Internet Service

The goal of Mr. Musk has been to deliver high-speed internet service to rural communities. Currently, the service (beta phase) is only available in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The satellites in service are located 340 miles above the Earth. Articles regarding the performance of Starlink are starting to come forward? What do the people who have internet service have to say about the new service? People who live rurally are pleasantly surprised by the download and upload speeds when it works at full capacity by all accounts. Again, it’s in the beta phase, so they experience periods where it disconnects and then reconnects seconds later.

What speeds are users reporting? It estimates that the service now has more than 10,000 users, seeing connection speeds of up to 170 Mbps, with no data caps.

According to a resident in the UK, he is quite happy with the service. Aaron Wilkes, who lives in Kent in Southeast England, told the PA news agency that his existing fixed-line service from British Telecom, which is advertised at a paltry 20 Mbps, often delivers far slower speeds, making it impractical to stream movies at all. Using Starlink, he’s been seeing an average of 175 Mbps and up to 215 Mbps at times. “The ability to be able to download content so quickly compared to our standard BT line is amazing,” said Wilkes. ( 2021)

Starlink Satellites

Starship Delivery System

While SpaceX is making good progress on Starlink with its Falcon 9 launcher, it’s also looking ahead to Starship as a key driver of the constellation’s growth. Starship, SpaceX’s next-generation launch vehicle currently under development in South Texas, will be able to deliver to orbit 400 Starlink satellites at a time, and it’s also being designed with full reusability and fast turnaround in mind.

The ability to launch more than six times as many satellites per mission would help SpaceX a lot in terms of the speed with which they can deploy the Starlink network.

This month, Starship SN10 took off from Boca Chica, Texas, where SpaceX is developing the vehicle. It flew to a height of roughly 10 km, or 32,000 feet, before performing a maneuver to re-orient itself for a friction-assisted landing descent. Minutes later, the rocket exploded. However, Space X says the test was a success. Unlike other companies, SpaceX develops Starships simultaneously as they launch. If something fails, they have another rocket adjusted to fix the problem and launch again.

Currently, the Starship series only flies a short distance. However, as each test becomes more successful, the distance will increase. Eventually, the goal is to reach orbit and use Starship for Starlink satellites.

Starlink plans to reach rural areas around the globe rather quickly.

Elon Musk recently said that Starlink aims to double its connection speed to about 300 Mbps. In addition,  he plans to extend the Starlinks coverage area for “most of Earth” by the end of the year.