Elon Musk Says Starlink Will Soon Make Up Two-Thirds of All Satellites

by Joe Rutland
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(Photo by Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Tesla CEO Elon Musk now says that Starlink will pretty soon make up two-thirds of all satellites being used in the world. Musk, who also is CEO of SpaceX, estimated on Twitter that within the next 18 months, more than 4,200 Starlink satellites will be operational.

Elon Musk Says Satellites In Company Will Make Up A Lot of World Numbers

Take out defunct satellites that are still in orbit. See, this number means that Starlink satellites make up two-thirds of all operational satellites around Earth. This also requires more than a doubling of active Starlink satellites within the same period. On March 30, Musk tweeted that he is “expecting over 4,200 Starlink satellites in operation within 18 months, which is ~2/3 of all active satellites of Earth.”

If Musk’s estimations are correct, not only will Starlink’s massive satellite constellation account for more than half of all operational satellites in orbit, the number of operational Starlink satellites will have doubled within the next 18 months. We get more from Interesting Engineering.

That increased coverage will allow SpaceX to provide internet to more users throughout the globe, while also increasing the quality and speed of its internet service.

To make that possible, SpaceX will have to continue its steady cadence of Starlink missions. The company currently launches its Starlink satellites using its reusable Falcon 9 rockets. In a separate tweet, Musk added that the “SpaceX Falcon team is making excellent progress – aiming for 60 launches this year.”

Musk also recently stated that Starlink revenue will help with development costs for SpaceX’s Mars-bound Starship launch vehicle. That could make its orbital maiden flight as soon as May. The SpaceX CEO recently announced a price hike for Starlink, citing inflation. Musk also said inflation has the potential to bankrupt the company.

SpaceX’s Starlink service is currently serving 250,000 Starlink subscribers worldwide. The increased growth of the satellite network will improve the speed and latency of the service. That service currently provides download speeds of approximately 100Mbps for users in the U.S.

SpaceX’s Starlink operations have been praised and derided in equal measure. On the one hand, they provide internet access to subscribers anywhere in the world. They have helped to keep civilians and troops connected amid the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. On the other hand, the Starlink satellites are already hampering astronomical observations. Even NASA has gone to the lengths of warning they may reduce its ability to detect an asteroid on a collision course with Earth.

SpaceX has so far sent more than 2,000 Starlink satellites into orbit since its first Starlink launch in May 2019. More than 1,600 of those are operational. 

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