- SpaceX has been regularly launching dozens of satellites to build a global communications network called Starlink.
- The Starlink internet service is currently in beta testing, but the company recently revealed some interesting information about how things are progressing.
- According to SpaceX, Starlink already has over 10,000 testers actively using the service.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX is best known for its reusable rocket technology that has lowered the barrier to entry for companies and institutions that wish to launch satellites into Earth orbit, but one of its side projects, Starlink, is rapidly becoming a very big deal. Starlink is a network of hundreds (and eventually many thousands) of communications satellites that have the potential to provide high-speed data service to virtually any spot on the planet.
The company began launching its satellites several years ago, and while there are only just over 1,000 Starlink satellites in orbit today, SpaceX has been eager to begin testing the service on a small scale. Now, as CNBC reports, SpaceX recently revealed that the service already has over 10,000 users.
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In a filing on Thursday with the Federal Communications Commission, SpaceX noted that the Starlink network’s “performance is not theoretical or experimental,” and that it is “rapidly accelerating in real-time as part of its public beta program,” which sounds a whole lot like a fancy way of saying that things are going as planned.
However, perhaps the most interesting metric by which we can measure the status of Starlink is in its number of active users, and SpaceX also used the FCC filing to reveal that it has over 10,000 users located both in the United States and “abroad.” We don’t know for sure what “abroad” means in terms of worldwide adoption, but SpaceX did get clearance to test the service in Canada, so that’s likely part of it.
In any case, the service is definitely growing, even in its early public beta phase, but SpaceX has far grander ambitions. The company has said that it hopes to eventually have tens of thousands of Starlink satellites in orbit, bolstering the speed and reliability of the network and allowing for even more people to connect. At the present moment is has clearance to deploy just over 11,000.
Going forward, we expect to see the regular deployment of Starlink satellites to continue, with the company sending as many as 120 new Starlink satellites into orbit every month. The company’s new satellite rideshare program will also give it the opportunity to fill unused space on satellite launch missions with as much Starlink hardware as it can cram into a Falcon 9.
There’s still a long way to go before SpaceX can formally roll out Starlink internet service in any country, but things appear to be progressing at a rapid pace. Speed and reliability are key, and ensuring that both of those needs are met means growing the number of Starlink satellites orbiting Earth. Put simply, it’s just a matter of time.
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This Tourism Ad for Mars Wraps With a Bleak Jolt of Reality – Muse by Clio
Created by Fred & Farid Los Angeles, the ad begins with an aspirational voiceover: “After more than 5 million years of human existence on Earth, it’s time for a change. Mars: 56 million square miles of untouched land, breathtaking landscapes and incredible views.” You have to look at it from a certain angle—the opposite of Elon’s, really—to feel the irony in its premise.
It ends with a forbidding statement: “And for the 99 percent who will stay on Earth … we’d better fix climate change.”
Ah, the catch: All these promises of adventure, and escape from our existential woes, will likely be reserved for the few who can afford it. (Unless you’re into the whole indentured servitude thing … and hey, if you’ve still got school loans, what’s a couple million more before you die?)
“We wanted to highlight pure nonsense,” said Fridays for Future. “Government-funded space programs and the world’s ultra-wealthy 1 percent are laser focused on Mars … and yet most humans will never get a chance to visit or live on Mars. This is not due to a lack of resources, but the fact that our global systems don’t care about us and refuse to take equitable action.”
To drive that point home, the organization points out that NASA’s Perseverance Rover cost $2.7 billion for development, launch, operations and analysis. While we’re hard-pressed to begrudge NASA a budget at the worst of times, it’s hard to look at that figure and think about the fact that we still haven’t figured out recycling.
The ad went live on Feb. 18, the day Perseverance landed on Mars. Contrast this date with another one, just a smidge down the road: Elon Musk is “highly confident” that SpaceX will get people there by 2026. (Though if that projection is anything like his Tesla ones, feel free to add 5-10 years to that with confidence.)
This marks Fred & Farid LA’s third collaboration with Fridays For Future. It follows “House on Fire” and “If You Don’t Believe in Global Warming, How About Local Warming?” The hope, in this case, is that some bleak sci-fi will finally be what motivates people to action.
Tell that to Greta Thunberg.
On the other hand, if you’d like some actual sci-fi with a spin on what happens to everybody on Earth when all the Well-Heeled People leave, we recommend N.K. Jemisin’s Emergency Skin. (Bonus points: Buy it at a Black-owned bookstore. Thanks to Oprah, you can find one by state.) It’s short and surprisingly optimistic—so optimistic that we actually worry the most exploitative wealthyfolk will instead choose to stay, which in our minds seems increasingly likely.
More images of Mars, Perseverance rover's exciting work to happen in coming weeks: NASA's Indo-American engineer – EdexLive
Vishnu Sridhar, a 27-year-old Indian-American lead system engineer with NASA’s Perseverance rover, has said that the most exciting work on the awe-inspiring Mars mission will happen in the coming weeks.
Sridhar, who is from Queens, New York, is a lead system engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California for SuperCam on the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover, which is on a mission to search for signs of past life on the Red Planet.
He said some of the rover’s most exciting work will be done in the coming weeks.
“We’re going to be taking more images of Mars, we’re going to be shooting lasers with the SuperCam instrument, we’re going to be recording audio with our microphone, and eventually, soon in near future, we are going to deploy our helicopter, and do the first powered flight on Mars,” Sridhar told ABC7 channel.
SuperCam is a remote-sensing instrument that will use laser spectroscopy to analyse the chemical composition of rocks on the Martian surface.
It analyses terrain that the rover cannot reach. It is an instrument designed to scan rocks and mineralsfrom up to 20 feet awayto determine their chemical makeup. The Perseverance rover was launched on July 30 last year and successfully landed on Mars on February 18 this year.
The rover, the SuperCam, and its other devices together will help scientists search for clues of past life on Mars. Its predecessor Curiosity is still functioning eight years after landing on Mars.
The two-year Perseverance mission is NASA’s latest and most advanced mission to find evidence of past life on Mars.
Sridhar said it was important that the mission was happening despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“NASA missions are clearly trying to explore and answer the basic question.
Perseverance is also trying to seek that, and eventually answer the question that was there life on Mars, was there life outside Earth, and it was definitely a tough period for us during COVID-19 and for everyone else around the globe,” he said.
“And that’s why I love the name of Perseverance because we persevered through the pandemic and there was a paradigm shift, we learned a lot about how to do engineering remotely.
And we went through all that we learned and now we are successful on Mars and it’s a great achievement for humankind,” he said.
Sridhar’s time at JPL over the past five years has been dedicated to Mars and is currently the instrument engineer for SuperCam on the Mars 2020 Rover.
“Summer 2019 was when instruments came in from France and Los Alamos and when we physically integrated SuperCam with the Perseverance rover.
That’s something I will cherish for the rest of my life, to have touched and worked on a piece of hardware that’s on its way to Mars, he reminisced.
The US space agency on Monday released the first audio from Mars, a faint recording of a gust of wind captured by the Perseverance rover.
Perseverance will attempt to collect 30 rock and soil samples in sealed tubes to be sent back to Earth sometime in the 2030s for lab analysis.
The rover is only the fifth to set its wheels down on Mars.
The feat was first accomplished in 1997, and all of them have been American.
The US is aiming for an eventual human mission to the planet, though planning remains preliminary.
Sridhar attended Aviation High School in Queens and grew up in Rego Park.
He graduated in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech and has always been fascinated by flight and space exploration.
One of the key events that sparked my interest in space and exploration was watching National Geographic.
The Carl Sagan TV show Cosmos, he said.
According to his NASA profile page, while in elementary school he wanted to become a National Geographic photographer and travel the world.
Indian-American woman scientist Swati Mohan had also played a key role in NASA Mars rover landing.
Mohan, who leads the guidance, navigation, and control operations of NASA’s Mars 2020 mission, was the first to confirm that the rover had successfully touched down on the Martian surface.
“Touchdown confirmed! Perseverance safely on the surface of Mars, ready to begin seeking signs of past life,” Mohan announced, prompting her colleagues at NASA to fist-bump and break into celebrations.
SpaceX Delays Launch of Falcon 9 Carrier Rocket With Starlink Satellites by a Day – Gadgets 360
SpaceX has cancelled the planned launch of a Falcon 9 carrier rocket with 60 Starlink satellites.
“Auto-abort at T-1:24 ahead of tonight’s Falcon 9 launch of Starlink; next launch opportunity is tomorrow, March 1 at 8:15 p.m. EST [03:15 GMT on Tuesday],” SpaceX said on Twitter on Sunday.
Auto-abort at T-1:24 ahead of tonight’s Falcon 9 launch of Starlink; next launch opportunity is tomorrow, March 1 at 8:15 p.m. EST
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) March 1, 2021
The company did not specify the reasons behind the delay.
The Falcon 9 rocket was supposed to lift off from the Cape Canaveral (Kennedy) Air Force Station in Florida at 01:37 GMT (7:07am) on Monday.
The mission aims to put 60 Starlink satellites into orbit. If successful at its next launch opportunity, it will expand SpaceX’s fleet of broadband relay satellites to include over 1,200 (some of them are prototypes that are no longer in service).
The Starlink project seeks to provide affordable access to broadband Internet connection across the world.
Earlier in February, SpaceX reportedly completed an equity funding round of $850 million (roughly Rs. 6,190 crore) that sent its valuation to about $74 billion (roughly Rs. 5,39,000 crore).
SpaceX raised the funds at $419.99 (roughly Rs. 30,600) a share and the latest funding round represents a jump of about 60 percent in the company’s valuation from its previous raise, which valued it at $46 billion (roughly Rs. 3,35,000 crores), as per the report.
A prototype of SpaceX’s Starship rocket, the SN9, exploded earlier in February during a landing attempt after a high-altitude test launch in a repeat of an accident that destroyed a previous test rocket.
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