DISTRICT 9 ESCAPEE Elon Musk tweeted this week (as he so often does) and appeared to confirm that his Starlink satellite array is up and running.
The first tranche of orbiters went up earlier this year, courtesy of Musk's SpaceX, but it represents a fraction of the arrays needed for global coverage.
The King Prawn sent a tweet suggesting he was about to test his connection to Starlink, and quickly followed it up with an encouraging verdict:
Whoa, it worked!!— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 22, 2019
The satellites are currently orbiting at 550km above the Earth, and when joined by their brethren, are expected to be able to offer high-speed internet, anywhere in the world.
At the moment, there are just 60 satellites. Originally, SpaceX planned to launch 12,000 but that figure has now ballooned (no offence Google) to 42,000.
It's not known if Musk plans to launch his own ISP, rent out carriage space to existing providers, or just gift the whole project to the people of Earth (we suspect Elon would go for the latter, but his shareholders won't be so impressed).
Besides which, this first batch of satellites alone has broken records for both the number of simultaneous satellite launches and the biggest weight of payload that a SpaceX launcher has ever carried. Musk is rich, but he's cash-poor and this project will already be heading towards a nine-figure price tag already, and Musk isn't made of money. Silicon, possibly, but not money.
It's also worth remembering that Musk has a fairly wicked sense of humour, and if you don't believe us, ask a flamethrower. Given his previous record of indiscretion (a nice way of saying ‘he likes a white lie or three'), we could find out that he was winding us all up with another of his ‘classic' pranks. We'll see what SpaceX has to say about it.
We might add, by the way, Mr Prawn, that gifting a satellite network to the world, then using it for mind control is a sci-fi trope, so get that out of your head now, or - bang - prawn toast. µ
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