The Hill has the story:
Elon Musk’s SpaceX recently launched the first 60 satellites to test the concept of what will eventually be a constellation of thousands of satellites that are designed to bring high-speed internet to every corner of the Earth. When the constellation is complete, sometime in the mid-2020s, SpaceX thinks it can provide wi-fi services that are competitive with fiber optic cable in urban areas as well as to currently underserved rural parts of the planet.
Each satellite is small, equipped with a single solar panel, a krypton-fueled ion drive, a collision avoidance system, and the wherewithal to receive and send high-speed Wi-Fi transmissions. With SpaceX’s family of reusable rockets, Elon Musk can deploy Starlink relatively cheaply, for about $10 billion, according to one estimate.
At the end of their useful lives, the satellites will use their ion thrusters to crash back into the Earth’s atmosphere, burning up, and thus preventing them from becoming space debris.
The system would be a game changer for telecommunications and would provide SpaceX with an astonishing amount of revenue. How much revenue? A recent article in Next Big Future suggests that SpaceX could take in $40 billion a year, about twice the amount of NASA’s current annual budget. That number is comparable to what AT&T makes with Direct TV. What that extra shot of money will allow SpaceX to do is mind-boggling.
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Let’s hope this is a factual article by a writer who understands the technology. However, I am troubled by the use of the term WiFi in this article. Some readers could think they can get connected to Starlink satellites by WiFi, which is not true. SpaceX is building a million ground terminals to communicate with the satellites. Their ground terminals may communicate with cell phones, laptops, and pads over WiFi, but there is another critical component in the communications chain, a $500.00 ground terminal.