The development is monumental because the project is highly capital intensive and a huge gamble on Musk’s part.
SpaceX Starlink: Elon Musk’s ambitious Starlink project has so far shipped a whopping 1 lakh terminals to customers. The project aims to provide high-speed satellite broadband connectivity across the globe, and for that, terminals are needed at the end of the customers. As per the Starlink website, each terminal is mapped to a satellite, which then beams down broadband connectivity directly to the terminal. The milestone was tweeted by tech mogul Elon Musk on Monday. The Starlink project is being managed by Musk’s commercial space company SpaceX.
100k terminals shipped!https://t.co/Q1VvqVmJ2i
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 23, 2021
The development is monumental because the project is highly capital intensive and a huge gamble on Musk’s part. This is especially considering the fact that the first batch of satellites for Starlink were launched in November 2019, and the beta programme to test the connectivity by users on a first-come-first-serve basis was launched a year later in November 2020. This means that within about 10 months, the company has been able to ship 1 lakh terminals, in the beta programme nonetheless, and has additional orders to the tune of over 5 lakh. This indicates that Elon Musk’s gamble might have paid off, after all.
The quick success of the service, however, is not completely surprising, keeping in mind the fact that batches of satellites for the project were launched in quick succession by SpaceX’s own Falcon 9 rocket. This led to the company not having to rely on any third party institutions to launch the satellites, which is the key strategy that is used by the Elon Musk-owned SpaceX.
Another reason behind the quick success of the service is that most of its users are located in remote or rural areas, which is also a key target audience for Starlink. These are the areas where conventional broadband connections fail to provide good access to the internet. People in these areas seem to be keen to get their hands on Starlink’s service because it promises to provide them with very high internet speeds.
The service is still expanding however, and is expected to increase the number of users gradually. It is also expanding the number of countries it serves, and is expected to provide service in India in 2022.