SpaceX: where in the world is Starlink available?

SpaceX will do everything to expand its influence on the geopolitical scene. The American multinational intends to ask the White House to exempt it from sanctions against Iran in order to offer Internet connection services through its constellation of Starlink satellites. The announcement was made on Monday, September 26, by the founder of the aerospace company Elon Musk on his Twitter account. He reacted to a message sent to him by an Iranian journalist that Starlink could “really be a game changer for the future” of the country.

The entrepreneur took the opportunity to announce that Starlink is now available on all continents, “including Antarctica”, the result of an aggressive start and accelerated pace. Launched at the end of 2020, the Starlink service provides access to the Internet, namely in areas poorly served by fixed and mobile fixed networks, through the acquisition of an antenna and a modem and a subscription, the prices of which vary depending on the country. How do these satellites work? They are in “low Earth orbit” at an altitude of about 550 kilometers. This relative proximity offers the advantage of low latency (the transmission delay in computer communications) and a faster internet.

In total, SpaceX has deployed nearly 3,000 Starlink satellites since 2019 and conducts about one launch per week with its own Falcon 9 rockets to accelerate its constellation’s deployment. And the company does not intend to stop there, as it intends to launch up to 42,000 satellites to offer a broadband connection from space, as the regular sending of new satellites is essential to maintain a sufficient quality of service. “However, as new customers arrive, the capabilities of the satellites are increasingly in demand”, point out our colleagues from numrama🇧🇷 On Saturday night, SpaceX launched 52 of its Starlink internet satellites into orbit.

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One million patch kits

Breakthroughs related to Starlink are widely publicized on social media: on Sunday, the South African billionaire wrote on Twitter that the number of connection kits to access Starlink had surpassed the one million mark. For how many users? Worldwide, the satellite Internet access service has more than 700 thousand customers, of which 75 thousand kits are installed in Europe, and 6.5 thousand in France, according to information compiled by the website L’Usine numérique.

SpaceX has been steadily expanding the Starlink service. As of September 2021, it serves customers in a dozen countries, and the number has grown to 25 countries as of February 2022, according to the news site. mashable🇧🇷 Today, the network is available in about thirty states. In addition to the United States and parts of Australia, the list of countries where Starlink is currently available also includes the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and, outside of Europe, parts of Chile and Brazil. Almost all of South America, Africa and parts of Asia should soon benefit from Starlink’s services.

If we look at this map of the world, its satellite Internet offer seems to be gradually transforming itself into a political tool. The proof with the recent views of the SpaceX boss on Iran, at a time when the country is rocked by anti-regime demonstrations, after the death of a young Iranian woman following her arrest by the vice police of Tehran. 🇧🇷 A few months earlier, the head of SpaceX had waved his Starlink offer in Ukraine, where he supplied antennas and modems to the Ukrainian army to improve its communication capabilities in the war that opposes it to Vladimir Putin’s Russia. A beautiful showcase for the richest man in the world.

To promote his Starlink network, Elon Musk does not hesitate to place himself on the side of the poorest. In 2020, the auto-entrepreneur makes the fire-ravaged city of Malden (Washington State) available to its satellites to help with its reconstruction. Note that the Hoh tribe – a community of Indians located in a remote part of Washington state, were among the first users of SpaceX’s broadband in late 2020. Through these communication photos, Elon Musk is undoubtedly hoping to shape his image as a committed business person.

Behind these interventions during natural disasters, the race for profits is never far away and Starlink is also targeting the mobile satellite connection market. “Beyond the internet, however, Starlink and several other satellite network providers are also in a race to establish a global connection to mobile phone service,” says Melissa de Zwart, Professor (Digital Technology, Security and Governance) from Flinders University in Australia in The conversation, September 14th. Again, Elon Musk puts his pawns in the sky, colonizing it a little more.

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