Starlink, a satellite internet service run by Elon Musk’s company SpaceX, is now up and running in Ukraine. There was a personal plea from Ukraine’s deputy prime minister on Twitter to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, and he asked him to keep the country connected while Russia invaded. This comes after that.
What is Starlink, and what is its target?
Starlink is an internet service that comes from the sky. As of February 2022, there are 2,091 Starlink satellites in the sky. When they work together, they form a network called a satellite internet constellation, which covers most of the Earth with the internet.
People use Starlink to get high-speed internet access that doesn’t take very long. “Internet latency” refers to how long it takes for a user to send a command and get a response back. “Internet lag,” on the other hand, refers to how quickly the internet can be used.
Starlink has the internet in 29 countries (Ukraine being the 29th). As long as there aren’t any licensing or contractual agreements, satellites could theoretically cover most of the world with the internet.
How does this thing work?
Around 550 km/340 mi, the satellites are in an LEO (or Low Earth Orbit), which means they move around the Earth. These people form a network with each other, and they communicate with ground-based terminals to send the internet. It looks like a pizza box with different radio wave antennas in it. To get to the Starlink satellites, these terminals can be put up anywhere with a good view of the sky, like a house or building roof.
Astronomers and astronauts aren’t sure what to think about the Starlink satellites. They’ve been criticized for light pollution and the amount of space debris they make. There are fears that the satellites could collide more often, which could cause something called the “Kessler effect.” This is when space debris in low Earth orbit keeps crashing into each other, making it almost impossible to use LEO for other satellites.
A geomagnetic storm hit the 49 new Starlink satellites launched in early February 2022. As many as 40 satellites crashed back to Earth a week later.
Elon Musk is the CEO of SpaceX. Who is he?
Elon Musk is a billionaire from South Africa who is thought to be the richest person globally. From a rich family: His father was part owner of an emerald mine in Zambia, and he also made money from early internet startups.
In 1999, Musk helped start X.com, one of the first online banks. Later, that company merged with another online bank, Confinity, which had made Paypal. Musk was removed from the merged company’s board in 2000, but he kept his shares in the company. The company focused on Paypal, and when eBay bought PayPal in 2002, Musk got a big payout.
As time went on, Musk started a company called SpaceX or Space Exploration Technologies Corp. in 2002. The company was started by Musk, who is very interested in colonizing Mars. Projects like Starlink are meant to help pay for these missions.
People say that Elon Musk’s Neuralink project, which works on an implant that lets people’s brains talk to computers directly, used animals as test subjects. It was tested on 23 monkeys, and 15 of them are said to have died after a long period of pain.
Musk’s company, Tesla, is also being sued because it has a “racially segregated workplace.” They found that Tesla’s Fremont factory is a racially segregated place where black workers are subjected to racial insults and discriminated against in discipline, job assignments, pay, and publicity. This is what the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing said. The Neuralink company and Tesla have said that these claims aren’t true.
The Speed of Elon Musk’s Starlink Satellite Internet Is Increasing
Elon Musk’s satellite internet project hasn’t always been easy, but things could be looking up for Starlink. Ookla, the maker of the internet speed measurement tool Speedtest, released its most recent satellite internet quarterly report on Wednesday. It looked at the last three months of 2021. Starlink came closer to having quality home internet with a median download speed of 104 megabits per second. This is the best Starlink has ever come to having quality home internet.
Viasat and HughesNet are the two main satellite internet providers in the US. They both had speeds of 21Mbps and 20Mbps in the tests. Starlink saw a lot of different median speeds in different parts of the United States. Per Ookla’s report, parts of Oregon got only about 65Mbps. South Florida, on the other hand, got almost 200Mbps. The average speed for all fixed broadband providers was 131Mbps, so even the best satellite service has a lot of work to do to keep up with the rest.
Still, Starlink’s median speeds are above the FCC’s definition of broadband (25Mbps or more), even at the low end could be good news for satellite internet, even if it doesn’t come from Musk. We have to make sure the service doesn’t break down as it grows. Starlink’s average speeds went down in the middle of last year as more people signed up for the service. With the fastest Starlink plan, you’ll pay $500 a month.
So…yeah. Maybe Starlink works well, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to use right now. Even so, if you live in Miami and don’t trust your local broadband service provider, you might want to check out Starlink.
Is Starlink a company that operates in Ukraine?
According to Musk, that’s what he told me, too. There are more terminals in Ukraine that the founder of SpaceX wants to give to them, which will make Starlink coverage even better.
This is the second time that Starlink has been made available to help people in need. This happened earlier in February 2022, when Starlink was made available to Tonga because of the eruption and tsunami in Tonga in February 2022. Starlink will provide internet service in Tonga for the next six months.