WASHINGTON — SpaceX is confident it can start offering broadband service in the United States via its Starlink constellation in mid-2020, the company’s president and chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell said Oct. 22.
Getting there will require the company to launch six to eight batches of satellites, Shotwell told reporters during a media roundtable. SpaceX also has to finish the design and engineering of the user terminals, which is not a minor challenge, Shotwell acknowledged.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has a Starlink terminal at his house and he used it to send a tweet early on Oct. 22.”Sending this tweet through space via Starlink satellite,” he tweeted to his 29 million followers. ”Whoa, it worked!!”
Shotwell said SpaceX will need to complete six to eight Starlink launches — including the one that already took place in May — to ensure continuous service in upper and lower latitude bands. “We need 24 launches to get global coverage,” she said. “Every launch after that gives you more capacity.”
The company caused a stir last week when it requested the International Telecommunication Union to approve spectrum for 30,000 additional Starlink satellites to build the world’s largest low-Earth orbit broadband constellation. This was in ...