SpaceX’s latest launch brings satellite internet directly to smartphones anywhere and everywhere: Here’s how

SpaceX, led by Elon Musk, has initiated a new project in 2024 with the launch of the initial set of Starlink internet satellites aboard the Falcon 9 spacecraft. The launch occurred on January 2nd at 10:44 p.m. EST. These satellites aim to offer direct-to-cell capabilities, allowing the possibility of accessing satellite broadband directly on smartphones. This innovation is expected to address challenges related to geographical features that typically hinder the provision of internet services.

During the launch, a total of 21 Starlink satellites were sent into low-Earth orbit from Space Launch Complex 4 East (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. Notably, the mission incorporated the deployment of the initial six Starlink satellites equipped with Direct-to-Cell capabilities.

The official Starlink website states, “This launch will include the first six Starlink satellites with Direct to Cell capabilities that will enable mobile network operators around the world to provide seamless global access to texting, calling, and browsing wherever you may be on land, lakes, or coastal waters.”

In practical terms, individuals utilizing the Starlink service on their smartphones will enjoy mobile phone connectivity regardless of their location.

If your telecommunications provider has secured access to the Starlink service, it will be compatible with your existing mobile phone. This service holds particular significance for regions where reliable internet connectivity is limited or entirely absent.

Moreover, the system can be rapidly deployed, highlighting its utility during emergencies when terrestrial infrastructure may be unavailable due to various reasons, including disasters. Notably, it can offer vital access to essential resources in such situations.

As a component of the launch, the initial stage of the Falcon 9 returned to Earth a mere 8.5 minutes following takeoff, successfully landing on the ‘Of Course I Still Love You’ droneship in the Pacific Ocean. Starlink’s objective is to create a satellite internet network covering the entire Earth. Presently, over 5100 active satellites have been launched, and the number continues to increase with each subsequent launch.





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Published: 03 Jan 2024, 12:32 PM IST