Starlink is a satellite internet constellation being constructed by SpaceX. providing satellite Internet access. The constellation will consist of thousands of mass-produced small satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO), which communicate with designated ground transceivers.
The SpaceX satellite development facility in Redmond, Washington houses the Starlink research, development, manufacturing, and orbit control teams.
The cost of the decade-long project to design, build, and deploy the constellation was estimated by SpaceX in May 2018 to be at least US$10 billion.
Product development began in 2015. Two prototype test-flight satellites were launched in February 2018. Additional test satellites and 60 operational satellites were deployed in May 2019.
SpaceX launches up to 60 satellites at a time, aiming to deploy 1,584 of the 260 kg (570 lb) spacecraft to provide near-global service by late 2021 or 2022. SpaceX started a private beta service in the Northern United States in August 2020 and a public beta in October 2020, service beginning at high latitudes between 44° and 52° North.
On 15 October 2019, the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) submitted filings to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) on SpaceX's behalf to arrange spectrum for 30,000 additional Starlink satellites to supplement the 12,000 Starlink satellites already approved by the FCC.
Astronomers have raised concerns about the constellations’ effect on ground-based astronomy and how the satellites will add to an already jammed orbital environment. This prompted conversations about the ethics of a single company unilaterally changing the night sky’s appearance.
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