Elon Musk, SpaceX’s founder, announced the news on Twitter. He previously stated in a tweet that Starlink will only be used for peaceful purposes. The Starlink satellite internet broadband service, owned by SpaceX, has announced its presence on all seven continents, including Antarctica. In a significant step toward installing terminals in the world’s most remote locations, the company tested one of its Starlink internet terminals at McMurdo Station in Antarctica.
Elon Musk, SpaceX’s founder, announced the news on Twitter. He previously stated in a tweet that Starlink will only be used for peaceful purposes. The McMurdo Station in Antarctica is home to nearly 1,000 people. Although they already have satellite internet at 17 Mbps, it is unreliable in bad weather. The National Science Foundation (NSF), a US federal agency that supports the US Antarctic programme, expressed its delight in a tweet, adding that the increased bandwidth will benefit scientists working on the remote continent near the South Pole.
How does Starlink claim to provide high-speed broadband internet access?
Starlink is a network of thousands of satellites orbiting the Earth at 550 kilometres above the surface. It has an advantage over other geostationary satellites that orbit at a much higher altitude of approximately 35,786 kilometres above the earth’s surface. Starlink provides extremely fast signals due to its proximity to the Earth’s surface.
As the round trip data time between the user and the satellite decreases, it becomes more efficient in supporting low latency online services. The Starlink claims to have latency as low as 20 ms compared to 600+ ms.
According to the company, Starlink is the first krypton-powered spacecraft to fly. The satellites can navigate in space and deorbit when their useful life is up.
Because of their low volume, compact, flat-panel design, Starlink satellites are easier to launch with SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. The satellites are outfitted with an autonomous collision avoidance system that moves the satellite without the need for human intervention, reducing collisions with other spacecraft or space debris.
Starlink has navigation sensors that scan the stars to determine each satellite’s location, altitude, and orientation for precise broadband placement throughout.
With the testing of its optical space lasers (Optical Intersatellite Links or ISLs) present on its satellites, Starlink is developing the capability to cover the entire Earth without the need for local ground stations. It allows the spacecraft to transmit data without the need for local ground stations, resulting in truly global coverage.