Elon Musk Starlink launch 42000 high-speed Internet satellites to provide fre internet to everyone: these are their pros and cons - Narrator: you're watching 60 satellites launch beyond the sky. And in the coming days, Elon Musk expects to send 42,000 of these satellites into space, that's 15 times the number of satellites that are operational and in orbit today. It is part of Starlink, the broad constellation that Musk and SpaceX, which hopes to bring low-latency high-speed Internet to the whole world, promising less interference and instant Internet in every corner of the world. But experts fear that it may have a high cost for space exploration.
Almost half of the world's population does not have access to the Internet, because most of the Internet Options out there require extensive deployment of expensive underground cables, leaving many rural places out of line. And while satellite Internet can reach all those areas…
Dave Mosher: the traditional satellite Internet is provided by a shuttle - sized spacecraft that is launched 22,236 miles into space in orbit around the Earth.
Narrator: that distance means that the satellite can reach places that the cables can't. But since that satellite is meant to serve a lot of people, its ability to store data is limited, which then limits connection speeds. And that signal has to travel a long way, creating a lot of delay. This is where Elon Musk and SpaceX come into play.
Mosher: Starlink is a network of internet satellites that will try to connect no matter where in the world you are.
Narrator: and there is one element that is very interesting to SpaceX.
Mosher: Elon Musk has said that he is only trying to get hold of a small percentage of a billion-dollar-a-year telecommunications industry worldwide. If SpaceX can achieve this, the company could earn between 30 and 50 billion dollars a year.
Elon Musk Starlink launch 42000 high-speed Internet satellites
Narrator: Musk and SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell say much of the money could finance, on its own, the development of Starlink, SpaceX's spacecraft and Mars launch infrastructure. At the beginning of October, SpaceX put into orbit more than 700 satellites, with a plan to launch a total of 12,000 in the next five years, half of them by the end of 2024. And Musk wants to add another 30,000 to this, reaching a total of 42,000 satellites revolving around the Earth. All these satellites will also be much closer, anywhere from 200 to 400 miles above the planet in the lowest Earth orbit.
Mosher: this reduces the delay in the connection between the satellite and normal Internet.
Narrator: once in orbit, these Starlink satellites will be in constant motion, so many of them are needed.
Mosher: the problem is that you have to have a lot of satellites in orbit to make up for the fact that you can't sit still over a place on Earth. It takes several satellites over our heads at any given time to cover many users.
Narrator: each satellite will connect with several others through laser beams, creating something like a backbone of the network. And to bring this Internet to your home, you'll need an antenna the size of a pizza. This phase array antenna can direct its beam to any satellite that is above, which would keep an Internet signal directly in your home. But this scheme is not without problems. They reflect sunlight and return it to Earth, so they end up looking like bright stars in motion. As cool as it sounds, that brings problems.
Mosher: Starlink satellites are most visible in the night sky just before sunrise and just after sunset, which is the exact time when astronomers look for Near-Earth objects or asteroids, objects that could hit our planet and hurt us.
Narrator: and as more and more satellites go up, so does the likelihood that they will interfere with astronomers ' views.
Mosher: if Starlink is still a problem for these types of Sky studies, we may not have as many warnings as we might need when it comes to detecting near-Earth objects, thwarting them and preventing them from hitting us.
Narrator: beyond detecting deadly asteroids, the satellite wall could also obstruct the search for new planets or even black holes.
Mosher: SpaceX observed that it had to do something, and it did. He created what is called a DarkSat, which is a satellite that has all its bright parts covered in a very black and dark material.
Narrator: he also tried to add visors to protect those shiny parts of the surface. But unless the satellites are covered like a spaceship taken from Star Trek, technology that does not exist, none of this will solve the problem completely. And even if it did, there's a much bigger problem to solve.
Mosher: there is a concern about space debris generated, because when you have so many satellites in the closest, narrowest, dense orbits around the Earth, there is a greater likelihood that those satellites can collide with each other or with other satellites.
Narrator: those crashes would create clouds of debris that could orbit the Earth for years, decades, or even centuries.
Mosher: and that debris can then disable or cause other satellites to crash into each other, creating even more debris. And if this problem gets out of control it would result in an effect called Kessler Syndrome. And if we got to that, then the space would become too insecure a space to go into.
Narrator: to be clear, the risk of an out-of-control Kessler Syndrome is very low.
Mosher: but the potential impacts are so high that scientists work hard to control that such an event never occurs.
Narrator: SpaceX has said that its satellites can automatically get out of the way to avoid collisions. But dozens of SpaceX satellites have already been deactivated and can not move at all, which poses a potential threat. And those concerned about SpaceX's plans are pressing the FCC to control the company and more strictly regulate low Earth orbit. And that could make the deployment of the 42,000 satellites that were planned more expensive and more difficult. But that's not going to stop Starlink.
Amazon's Kuiper project, OneWeb, China's Hongyan and other projects seek to challenge SpaceX by launching their own global networks of hundreds or thousands of satellites. If everyone succeeds with little or no regulation, we could end up with 100,000 satellites covering our planet in the next 10 years, dramatically increasing the risk of blocking space for everyone.
Elon Musk Starlink launch 42000 high-speed Internet satellites