SpaceX to Launch the 1,000th Starlink: Given Elon Musk Control Over a Quarter of the Active Satellites
In 2019 and 2020, Elon Musk launched over a dozen Starlink missions. He became the controller of over a quarter of active global satellites that orbit the earth.
How Did it Happen?
After the delivery of 60 satellites from the Starlink via the Falcon 9 rocket, over 1000 Starlinks were orbiting the earth. The launching of the delivery took place at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida.
As of February 2020, 946 Starlinks in the earth’s orbit made 27.3 % of the active satellites currently in orbit.
Data as of January 2021 revealed that Starlink, One Web, and Planet Labs had 1006, 110, and 176 satellites, respectively. Other companies had 2,229 satellites. In total, 3,521 satellites were orbiting the earth.
The Starlink 17 plan seeks to enable SpaceX to build up close to 40,000 satellites to facilitate high-speed internet on earth. Currently, the company has the approval to launch 12,000 satellites. However, the company awaits approval from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to raise the launch ceiling to 40,000 satellites.
If the company maintains the current launch rate, then it will own half of the satellites by mid-2022. The current rate accounts for a fifth of the global rocket launches. Among the launches include a few missions for other customers and crew and cargo delivery to the ISS (International Space Station).
The latest satellite designs feature lasers that transmit satellite-to-satellite signals. The feature eliminates the need for conventional ground infrastructure.
The current network of Starlinks serves the northern latitudes, including the US, Canada, and the UK. However, the company seeks to provide near-global coverage in 2021.
Elon Musk’s net worth and controversy
In early 2021, Elon Musk had a net worth value of over $200 billion. He was then the wealthiest person in the world.
However, he sparked controversy in 2020 after declaring that SpaceX will not comply with the international laws related to Mars.
Watch the video below for more information on Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites.