Understanding space Internet

3 min read

News: SpaceX has launched its second batch of 60 Starlink satellites into space. The company had launched its first batch of 60 satellites in May 2019.

Facts:

About Star Link Project

  • The project seeks to build a low-cost, satellite based broadband network capable of delivering internet access to the entire globe. Starlink network will eventually have 42,000 satellites.
  • The Starlink satellites will be deployed in the altitude band of 350 km to 1,200 km in the Low Earth Orbit (LEO). The LEO extends up to 2,000 km above the Earth’s surface.
  • The main advantage of putting satellites in LEO for space-based Internet is that it will reduce the latency between a user seeking data, and the server sending that data.
  • However, LEO comes with a major disadvantage. Owing to their lower height, their signals cover a relatively small area. As a result, many more satellites are needed in order to reach signals to every part of the earth.
  • Starlink aims to start service in the northern United States and Canada in 2020, and expand to cover the whole world by 2021.

Concerns associated with Starlink

  • Increased space debris,
  • Increased risk of collisions,
  • Concern of astronomers that these constellations of space Internet satellites will make it difficult to observe other space objects, and to detect their signals.

Additional Information:

Additional Information:

Loon:

  • It is a project by Loon LLC, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc. (the parent company of Google). It seeks to provide Internet access to rural and remote areas.
  • It uses high-altitude balloons placed in the stratosphere (a layer of atmosphere that lies above the troposphere) at an altitude of 18 km to 25 km to create an aerial wireless network with up to 4G-LTE speeds.

Whitespace Internet:

  • Microsoft is providing whitespace internet to unserved areas of Jamaica, Namibia, Tanzania, Philippines etc.
  • White Space Internet uses a part of the radio spectrum known as White spaces. White Space refers to the unused broadcasting frequencies in the wireless spectrum. These spaces can provide broadband internet access that is similar to that of 4G mobile