SpaceX has launched satellites that function like cell phone towers for mobile phone networks into space. It will help in getting mobile connectivity regardless of any location on earth. Elon Musk who runs X or former Twitter is the owner of the space exploration company that has achieved this feat.
Six Starlink satellites with direct-to-mobile phone connectivity were sent into space in the Falcon 9 spacecraft on 2nd January 2024. The company has scheduled the testing of these satellites after a few months.
Importance of Satellite-Based Internet Network
It is an important step towards beginning the services of satellite-based internet. If the project is successful, it will allow mobile phone users to access the internet from any part of the earth. The connectivity through satellite can remove hurdles in accessing the internet due to difficult geographical conditions. It will be a great help to people who live in regions that lack cellular connectivity at present. The experiment will help reduce the digital divide in populations deprived of the internet in remote areas.
Elon Musk clarified that the satellites that they have launched will not compete with the terrestrial cellular networks that are used currently. He further added that the satellite network will allow support of getting 7 MB per beam.
SpaceX Launched Starlink Satellites After Getting Regulatory Approvals
US regulators had granted permission and approval to Elon Musk’s space company to test their satellites. Elon Musk’s space firm obtained approval from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to carry out the project for 180 days. These satellites would operate in the same way as cell phone towers work. The only difference is that they will be installed in space instead of the Earth. Mobile phone users worldwide may get 4G connectivity through this.
The project is carried out in collaboration with T-Mobile. Elon Musk’s space firm has alliances with telecommunication companies in Australia and Japan. It has also partnered with Canadian telecom companies.
When Can the General Public Use This Service?
It is expected that if everything goes right, there will be a facility for texting on mobile phones this year itself. However, getting access to voice and data may take some time. These features will be available in 2025. The satellite-enabled connectivity for devices that have IoT or Internet of Things will also start in 2025. If these services must be made available to the masses, SpaceX will have to apply for regulatory approvals. It can start the service only after getting permission.