Elon Musk’s SpaceX on Sunday completed its first-ever launch to polar orbit for its Starlink internet network and finally achieved complete global coverage.
Over the weekend, a Falcon 9 rocket delivered 46 Starlink satellites into low-Earth orbit. Following the launch, Mr Musk tweeted, “These polar launches will enable complete coverage of Earth (where approved by local government).”
According to the Independent, it was the 50th dedicated Starlink launch for SpaceX, having launched the first payload of two satellites in February 2018. Since then, Mr Musk’s space company has launched more than 2,600 Starlink satellites into orbit, with 2,373 currently active. This means that SpaceX is responsible for more than 40% of all active satellites in orbit around Earth.
Now, thousands more Starlink satellites will be launched into orbit before the network is complete, the outlet reported. Each new batch of satellites will bolster the speed and reliability of the broadband service.
As per SpaceX’s website, “Starlink internet works by sending information through the vacuum of space, where it travels much faster than in fibre-optic cable and can reach far more people and places.”
“With high speeds and latency as low as 20ms in most locations, Starlink enables video calls, online gaming, streaming, and other high data rate activities that historically have not been possible with satellite internet,” the website adds.
The Starlink network is primarily designed for people in rural locations that don’t have access to ground-based telecommunication infrastructure. The network has also been used in areas hit by disaster or conflict.
In Ukraine, the Independent reported that an estimated 150,000 people are staying connected through Starlink kits sent to the war-torn country following the Russian invasion.