In an unannounced move with little fanfare, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk performed a live test of the company’s Starlink network by sending a tweet. The Tweet was followed by a second exclaiming, “Whoa, it worked!”
SpaceX launched the first 60 satellites of teh company’s Starink mega constellation on May 24. The satellites are the first of a communications network that will bring high-speed internet to every inch of the Earth.
Following the launch, there were several reports that indicated that as much as 20 percent of the 60 satellites had already succumbed to one or another fault. Despite this, the network appears to already be able to supply intermittent communications services.
Earlier this morning, Musk tweeted “Sending this tweet through space via Starlink satellite 🛰️.” Seemingly unaware if the tweet would be successfully posted, Musk followed the initial tweet with a second exclaiming, “Whoa, it worked!”
Although no official statement has been released from SpaceX itself, this appears to be the first successful real-world test of the Starlink network.
The future of Starlink
In order to achieve the ambitious goal of supplying high-speed internet globally, SpaceX had initially planned for a 12,000-strong constellation of Starlink satellites. However, earlier this month the company asked the International Telecommunication Union to arrange a spectrum for no fewer than 30,000 additional Starlink satellites. As a result, once complete the constellation could feature as many as 42,000 satellites, although it’s not clear if all 42,000 will be used, or if a percentage will be held in reserve for redundancy.
Despite the hugely ambitious plans for the global network, SpaceX plans to begin delivering services to specific regions as and when the constellation is big enough to support it. The next Starlink launch is expected soon with SpaceX hoping to launch several more missions next year deploying hundreds if not thousands of additional satellites.