SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk at the Kennedy Space Center.
Paul Hennessy | SOPA Images | Getty Images
Elon Musk said on Tuesday that Starlink, SpaceX’s satellite internet network “just passed”, has nearly 70,000 users and is expected to grow rapidly next year.
“We’re going to have a few hundred thousand users. There could be more than 500,000 users in 12 months,” Musk said while speaking at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.
Starlink is the company’s capital-intensive project to build an Internet network that is interconnected by thousands of satellites. known in the space industry as a constellation Designed to provide high-speed Internet access to consumers worldwide, SpaceX is launching its service with a select consumer beta program for $99 per month. And last year it sought regulatory approval to test its network on planes and expand its services to larger vehicles such as boats and trucks.
Starlink user terminal installed on the roof of a building in Canada
It is currently the largest constellation of satellites in the world. More than 1,500 Starlink satellites have been launched into orbit to date.
Last month, SpaceX touted that Starlink had received more than 500,000 orders and deposits to date. While that didn’t actually happen to users, Starlink’s user base has grown from around 10,000 users in February to Musk, saying that this month it has passed. “Strategically outstanding 69,420 active users”
SpaceX’s low altitude satellites reduce service latency compared to traditional satellite services, which Musk emphasized. Latency is the amount of latency in the Internet network. which determines the length of time it takes for the signal to be sent to and from the destination. Latency and download speed are important measures for ISPs.
“The latency for the Starlink system is similar to the latency for grounded fiber and 5G, so we expect latency to drop below 20 milliseconds,” Musk said.
The company is “losing money” on satellite antennas it provides to customers, Musk said, because the hardware costs nearly $1,300 each, but SpaceX charges users $499.
“We are working on next-generation terminals with the same level of capabilities. similar level of competence But it costs much less,” Musk said.
As the company’s leaders previously said, Musk estimates that Starlink could cost SpaceX between $5 billion and $10 billion to fully operate, and then as much as $20 billion to $30 billion. But SpaceX believes it can penetrate a larger market, with Starlink expected to generate as much as $30 billion a year, about 10 times the annual revenue of its rocket launch business.
Starlink “is available in approximately 12 countries, with more being added every month,” Musk said.
“We have two very important partnerships with big countries. [telecommunications companies]that I want to announce right now But we obviously postpone our partners to make any announcements,” Musk said, “and we are in discussions with several others. [telecommunications companies] to provide access to Starlink”
Musk also said SpaceX is close to launching the next Starlink satellite.
“We are close to launching satellite 1.5, which has a laser link between satellites. And it will be used in particular for continuous connections over the Arctic and Antarctic regions,” Musk said. “Next year we will begin launching our second-generation satellite. which will be significantly more capable.”
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