SpaceX has an expansive satellite internet network in space called Starlink. The first Starlink satellites were launched on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket in May 2019. More than 3,000 Starlink satellites envelop the Earth, offering broadband connectivity to users — especially those in rural areas without fixed-line connections. The goal is to have up to 42,000 satellites by mid-2027. starlink satellites
The company said on Monday the service has more than one million active subscribers worldwide. This was up from 145,000 users at the start of 2022.
Starlink now has more than 1,000,000 active subscribers – thank you to all customers and members of the Starlink team who contributed to this milestone ❤️???????? https://t.co/5suNxFvtEH pic.twitter.com/E1ojYarcEA
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) December 19, 2022
Musk said in September that SpaceX had manufactured more than one million Starlink user terminals, which connect to the company’s satellites in orbit. Now, the company has hit another milestone — gaining one million active users.
Starlink speeds have dropped starlink satellites
Although users have skyrocketed, Starlink’s download speeds have slowed, according to an analysis by network intelligence company Ookla.
Since the start of this year, Ookla found that Starlink’s download speeds in the US fell from around 85 megabits per second in the first quarter to roughly 50 Mbps in the third quarter. This is in comparison with about 110 Mbps in the last quarter of 2021, per Ookla.
Meanwhile, upload speeds in the US remained the same across the year, Ookla added.
When Starlink launched, SpaceX said in an email to Starlink beta test subscribers they should expect download speeds between 50 and 150 Mbps, with intermittent outages. But some users hit much higher speeds. Starlink even reached speeds of 175 Mbps in freezing temperatures, high winds, and snow.
Costs have fluctuated
A Starlink subscription is $110 per month and another $600 for the Starlink kit, comprising a tripod, WiFi router, and terminal.
The service costs more than what it initially charged users in October 2020. Customers previously paid $600 upfront for the kit and monthly subscription. SpaceX told customers in March it was raising prices, with new customers paying $710 upfront. However, prices were cut in late August for users in the US and Europe.
“Starlink is still losing money!” according to a tweet from Musk in response to a Twitter thread that referenced CNN’s report about SpaceX asking the Pentagon to foot the bill for the service in Ukraine.
No contracts, 30-day trial
Long-term contracts prevent both parties from making sensible changes when necessary.
With Starlink, it’s a fair deal both ways. Starlink can adjust terms and pricing as needed, and customers can cancel at any time, for any reason.
Try any Starlink Service for 30 days and, if not satisfied, return the hardware for a full refund.
Starlink on planes and cruise ships
Since June when the Federal Communications Commission granted SpaceX authorization to use Starlink on vehicles in motion, Starlink has signed deals with Royal Caribbean, Hawaiian Airlines, and jet service JSX to offer passengers WiFi. The company has also been in talks with Delta and Frontier Airlines.
Musk said antennas wouldn’t connect Tesla cars to Starlink because the terminals are “much too big.”
“This is for aircraft, ships, large trucks & RVs,” the billionaire said, adding that he was testing Starlink on his private jet.
A Starlink satellite has a lifespan of approximately five years(opens in new tab) and SpaceX eventually hopes to have as many as 42,000 satellites in this so-called mega constellation.
The current version of each Starlink satellite weighs approximately 573 lbs. (260 kilograms), according to Spaceflight Now(opens in new tab). As of November 2022, there are 3,271 Starlink satellites in orbit, of which 3,236 are operational, according to Astronomer Jonathan McDowell.
Starlink satellites orbit approximately 342 miles (550 kilometers)(opens in new tab) above Earth and put on a spectacular show for observers as they move across the sky. This show is not welcomed by all and can significantly hinder both optical and radio astronomical observations.
You don’t need any special equipment to see Starlink satellites as they are visible to the unaided eye. The satellites can appear as a string of pearls or a “train” of bright lights moving across the night sky. Starlink satellites are easier to see a day or two after their launch and deployment then become progressively harder to spot as they climb to their final orbital height of around 342 miles (550 km).