When you think of billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, chances are good that you think of his electric car company Tesla, his space exploration venture SpaceX or his stint hosting to say nothing of his histoy of stirring up controversy on social media or smoking weed with Joe Rogan. Maybe you just know his as one of the richest people of Earth.
Something you might be less familiar with is a venture of Musk’s called Starlink, which aims to sell internet connections to almost anyone on the planet by way of a growing network of private satellites orbiting overhead.
After years of development within SpaceX –after securing nearly $885.5 million in grant funds from the Federal Communications Commission at the end of 2020 – Starlink’s progress seems to be accelarting in 2021. In January, after about three years’ worth of successful launches, the project surpassed 1,000 satellites delivered into orbit – in June, SpaceX said the number of sits at roughly 1,800. In Februray, Musk’s company disclosed that Starlink was serving more than 10,000 customers. Now, after expanding preorders to even more potential customers. Musk says that Starlink has shipped more than 10,000 satellite internet terminals to customers in 14 countries.
SpaveX’s Starlink internet service will come out of its beta testing phase next month, company founder Elon Musk confirmed in a terse tweet Friday.
Starlink is designed to improve internet speeds by sending thousands of small satellites into orbit, where they form constellations of flying routers that beam connectivity backto Earth. It lauched in beta last October, and has built momentum throughout 2021 – it apparently jumped from 10,000 customers in February to shipping 1,00,000 terminals last month.
CNET’s John Kim signed up for the service at his home in California and tested it a variety of locations in May. At home, he averaged download speeds around 78Mbps, and latency of acround 36ms. SpaceX was aiming to achieve global coverage in the fall, company president Gwynne Shotwell said over the summer. The company didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Musk’s tweet.