During a virtual conference of Satellite 2021, the president of SpaceX Gwynne Shotwell, released some information about the program Starlink for Internet connectivity. According to reports, there are currently in orbit 1320 satellites of the version 1.0, which therefore do not include satellite-to-satellite connectivity via laser.
There was talk of the new version with laser link at the launch at the end of January 2021 when i satellites, positioned in polar orbit, had begun to adopt this technology (which will then be expanded to other units in the future). Even if there is no such technology for linking, it is still possible to create a mixed network.
Always there Shotwell stated that global connectivity will occur with the 28th launch. The executive also added that the company does not want to create problems in the LEO (Low Earth Orbit) orbit also because it would hinder the launches of its customers and manned missions to the ISS. This is one of the reasons why Space Starlink they have a lower orbit than initially estimated (in addition of course to reduce latency).
The news on Space Starlink satellites for Internet connectivity
It is not clear when the nicely named beta program will end Better Than Nothing Beta. According to the president, the test program will end when SpaceX he will understand that he has reached a high level of reliability. There Shotwell he has declared “in five years Starlink will be able to serve all rural families in the United States”.
There will then be no plans to have different price offers based on the type of consumer. Furthermore SpaceX with Starlink it does not aim to compete with large traditional operators: they will simply deal with different types of consumers. The reference market, even if it seems obvious, is the US one. Less language barriers, the production site is close and easier to manage customer support.
Interestingly, currently the connection kit (dish, cables and router) is sold at a loss. Despite a reduction in the cost of construction, the device costs just under $ 1500 per unit (with a new version saving the company $ 200). Currently this cost is absorbed by SpaceX and is not charged to beta customers, in the future they will aim to make the kit cost “a few hundred dollars”.
Also during the conference it was said that the making of the Dragon capsules also helped (indirectly) in the making of Starlink. “We were beginners in this business only a few years ago, we thought we would work a little harder” while the capsules helped “to understand the satellite architecture for Starlink”.
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