Starlink, SpaceX’s satellite-based broadband internet system, could become much more accessible in the coming years. The Elon Musk-owned company has reportedly received the go-ahead to launch an additional 7,500 satellites, expanding the Starlink broadband to over 10,000 low-orbiting satellites over the next decade. The new Starlink satellites will help users connect to the satellite-based broadband service directly via their smartphones without the need for any special equipment.
According to a report in CNET, SpaceX expects to offer the service to users with the help of US network carrier T-Mobile. The spacecraft manufacturer reportedly filed an application to the US Federal Communications Commission on December 6 for permission to fit a number of its Starlink satellites with “direct-to-cellular” hardware. This will allow smartphone users to directly avail Starlink’s broadband services once it goes live.
Back in August, SpaceX and T-Mobile had joined hands to provide mobile users internet access in remote parts of the US. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and T-Mobile chief Mike Sievert had announced their partnership at SpaceX’s Starbase in Boca Chica, Texas. The endeavour would connect cell phones directly to SpaceX’s satellites, thereby eliminating the need for cell towers. It was then reported that the service would begin with text message support from the second half of 2023, with voice and data services arriving later.
SpaceX has now got the nod to launch an additional 7,500 satellites over the next 10 years, the CNET report said. These second generation of Starlink satellites will add to the 3,500 first generation satellites already in orbit. In August, SpaceX launched Falcon 9 rocket with 46 Starlink satellites in tow to the low-Earth orbit.
SpaceX’s Starlink has also been noted with providing satellite broadband in parts of Ukraine amidst the ongoing war. The country, however, had said last month that it was also seeking additional providers for sustained internet access in the country.