SpaceX Seeks Testers For Possible Starlink Satellite Internet Beta This Summer

starlink satellites

SpaceX has been on a roll in 2020 with its Falcon 9 rocket launches, which the most high-profile one sending NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley into space to dock with the ISS via a Crew Dragon capsule. Perhaps one of the most important things for the general population that the company is doing is with the Starlink system that will use a massive constellation of low Earth orbit satellites to provide internet connectivity to users all around the world. SpaceX recently began inviting users to signup for the satellite internet service by sharing their email address and service location details.

Asking for service addresses on the Starlink website is a change. Previously, the only information requested from users was an email address to keep them updated. The Starlink private beta will start later this summer, followed by a broader public beta test in the months after that. The constellation of satellites is expected to provide high-speed internet connectivity with gigabit speeds and low latency of around 25ms.

The service is expected to cost around $80 per month, making it on par or even cheaper than other existing broadband Internet services. Starlink is aiming to bring more choice and to provide broadband in remote and rural areas where there is no service today. Starlink currently intends to launch service across the United States and Canada this year with a nearly global footprint covering populated areas by the end of next year.

Starlink uses a series of small satellites that each weigh about 250 kg with a quartet of phased array antennas inside. On June 13, SpaceX launched 58 new satellites into space, bringing the number currently in orbit to 540. The company has lobbied the FCC in the United States for permission to put 30,000 satellites into orbit as part of its second-generation system.

Not everyone is happy with SpaceX's satellites, however, which have proven to be brighter than anyone expected. Astronomers fear that the brightness of the satellites could compromise the ability of ground-based telescopes to conduct observations.