SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will blast off from Cape Canaveral with a new Starlink payload next week, delivering another batch of specially crafted satellites to low orbit. Amazon has meanwhile been trying to put spokes in its rival’s wheel, while being itself to date unprepared to deliver on its own ambitious plans.
Starlink, Elon Musk’s new $100-a-month satellite Internet venture, is likely to become the next “big thing” unveiled by the tech mogul, going to great lengths to earn the status of the world’s first global broadband provider, The Sunday Times reported.
It portrayed the potential of Starlink, a division of the rocket company SpaceX – which recently carried four astronauts to the ISS, as overwhelming, as it could bring billions of people online.
As of today, roughly a third of the globe either completely lacks Internet connection or has to face an interrupted signal due to unfavourable weather conditions or outdated equipment. Around four percent of Brits are included in the estimate, the British edition noted.
With the potential for the global broadband being really huge, Jeff Bezos’ Amazon, as well as providers Viasat and the UK’s state-owned OneWeb, seem to be eagerly jumping on the bandwagon. However, none of the aforementioned has made progress like Starlink: Musk’s brainchild has seen as many as 10,000 customers join it since it introduced its beta service last October.
A global service could reportedly become a reality already this summer, with SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell recently setting out their ambitious plan:
“After about 28 launches, we’ll have continuous coverage throughout the globe”.
Next Wednesday, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will put 60 more satellites into orbit.
However, rivals eagerly weighed in on Starlink’s progress, alleging that the world’s second-richest man couldn’t care less about low-Earth orbit swarming with its satellites, almost crashing into one another.
Amazon, for its part, flew off the handle as Starlink asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to permit it to launch some of its satellites into an orbit lower than it had initially planned.