SpaceX CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter yesterday to announce a milestone in the development of Starlink, a satellite mega constellation that intends to beam high-speed internet across the globe.
Musk said on Twitter he was attempting to send a tweet “through space via Starlink satellite”. Two minutes later he followed up with “Whoa, it worked!!”, suggesting that SpaceX’s Starlink service was at least partially up and running.
Starlink is a low latency, broadband internet system designed to meet the needs of consumers across the globe. Enabled by a constellation of low Earth orbit satellites, Starlink is aimed at providing fast internet to populations with little or no connectivity, including those in rural communities and places where existing services are too expensive or unreliable.
The first 60 satellites in the Starlink constellation were launched by SpaceX in May 2019, to test out some of the aspects of the system. The company currently has a license for 12,000 satellites in the constellation, and recently applied for an additional 30,000.
SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell says that the company would need six to eight launches to start offering the Starlink service to customers. The Northern U.S. and Canada will be the first to receive the service.
Several other companies including Amazon and OneWeb are designing their own competing space internet services.