Elon Musk this week celebrated a milestone for SpaceX’s Starlink venture, as the satellite internet service continues to expand.
In a series of tweets, Elon Musk revealed that SpaceX has shipped 100,000 Starlink terminals so far, and is now serving 14 countries – with license applications pending in other countries.
It comes after SpaceX in May this year revealed it had already received more than 500,000 preorders for the satellite internet service.
“100k terminals shipped!” tweeted Musk on Monday, before adding that the satellite internet service was also now serving customers in the US, Canada, the UK, Germany, France, Austria, the Netherlands, Ireland, Belgium, Switzerland, Denmark, Portugal, New Zealand and Australia.
“Our license applications are pending in many more countries,” he added in an additional tweet. “Hoping to serve Earth soon!”
Musk’s tweets suggest that Starlink added roughly 10,000 users in the space of three weeks, after Space in late July revealed it had approximately 90,000 customers.
And there seems to be some additional good news, as the cost of the Starlink equipment is reportedly going to get somewhat cheaper by the end of the year.
At the moment beta customers in the UK have to pay £89 a month for the service itself.
In addition there is a £54 shipping cost and a stiff price of £439 for the kit itself, which is made up of a satellite antenna dish, a stand, a power supply, and Wi-Fi router.
However the president of SpaceX, Gwynne Shotwell, recently said that the expensive terminal equipment will “cost roughly half of what our current user terminals cost.”
However, as Starlink is still a beta service, there have some issues.
Even SpaceX is reportedly being impacted by the current silicon shortage, and eier this week ISPreview cited customer reports from across the world of a major service outage.
The outage reportedly started just after 1pm UK time on Wednesday, and impacted users in America and Europe.
But nearly two hours later the outage was resolved.
SpaceX currently has 1,740 Starlink satellites in orbit, and it intends to deploy a total of 4,425 satellites by 2024.
It hopes to grow this to 12,000 satellites in orbit (thought to be sometime in 2026), with approximately 2,000 satellites launched per year.
SpaceX could eventually place up to 42,000 satellites into orbit in the long term.
The Starlink satellites are initially deployed at an altitude of 290km, before they manoeuvre up to 550km (342 miles) above the earth.
Its reach will be extensive, but there will be some limitations within cities.
Elon Musk has previously made clear that he sees the Starlink service as a way of funding SpaceX’s ambition to develop a spacecraft that can carry passengers to the moon, and eventually colonise Mars.
In recent federal filings SpaceX revealed it intends to use its Starship rocket as a primary vehicle to deliver its satellites into orbit, instead of the Falcon Heavy rocket it is often using at the moment.
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