SpaceX rocketed another 60 internet-providing Starlink satellites at once on Monday night, adding to 120 previously launched to space.
The more than 170 working satellites makes the company, founded by tech mogul Elon Musk, the single-largest operator of spacecraft in orbit around Earth.
On Tuesday, Musk tweeted there will be “no training required” for users to connect to SpaceX’s globe-encircling network: just point a device that looks like a “UFO on a stick” at the sky and plug it in.
Starlink is one of several “mega constellations” of thousands of satellites that companies plan to launch this decade. SpaceX plans to launch up to 42,000 before the end of the decade, which may boost the company’s value up to $120 billion.
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On Monday evening, SpaceX, the rocket company founded by tech mogul Elon Musk, blasted a fresh batch of Starlink internet satellites into orbit. The mission added 60 new versions of the spacecraft to a network of 120 already circling Earth — a total of 180 launched into space.
Though several experimental Starlink satellites launched in May 2019 have stopped working, SpaceX now manages more private space satellites than any company in the world, according to Ars Technica. (About 2,200 functional spacecraft orbit Earth today.)
SpaceX is just getting started, though: The company plans to launch 60 more satellites about every two weeks in 2020, perhaps ramping up missions to get as many as 42,000 flown before the end of the decade. The network should boot up after several hundred are in space, ostensibly getting early adopters online later this year.
Yet it remains an open question how, exactly, anyone will connect to SpaceX’s next-generation satellite internet network.
During a press call earlier this year, Musk described a computer-powered antenna terminal that will look like “a small- to medium-size pizza.”
On Tuesday, Musk tweeted a colorful new description of a terminal.
“Looks like a thin, flat, round UFO on a stick. Starlink Terminal has motors to self-adjust optimal angle to view sky. Instructions are simply:
– Plug in socket
– Point at sky
These instructions work in either order. No training required.”
Musk uploaded no picture of a Starlink terminal, though he’s tweeted using a prototype that’s reportedly at his home in Los Angeles.
‘This is very different business for SpaceX’
Musk previously said Starlink terminal antennas will be “electronically steered,” allowing one can switch connections from one satellite flying out of view to one coming into view “in less than a millisecond.”
The addition of a steering motor, according to Musk’s tweet, suggests electronic switching alone is not be enough to maintain a reliable connection to satellites in typical use cases.
Musk said in 2015 that SpaceX’s terminals (before they earned the name Starlink) would cost $100 to $300 each. However, the cheapest any …read more
Source:: Business Insider