Starlink satellite internet reached the remote areas of Antarctica

According to the promise of SpaceX, the company's Starlink satellite internet is now available in the South Pole and is undergoing testing.

BingMag.com Starlink satellite internet reached the remote areas of Antarctica

According to the promise of SpaceX, the company's Starlink satellite internet is now available in the South Pole and is undergoing testing.

Year It was in the past that SpaceX started launching satellites into polar orbits, and now, after competing with "OneWeb" in the field of satellite internet coverage in the North Pole and other polar regions, it has upgraded this program to another level.

The company is now testing one of its Starlink terminals at the McMurdo Station in Antarctica in collaboration with the US National Science Foundation (NSF). According to the foundation, the increased bandwidth will help scientists working in remote areas near Antarctica. It used to have access to satellite Internet, but it wasn't easy.

According to the US Antarctic Program, everyone on the base uses a shared 17 Mbps connection, which severely limits operations. limits. Therefore, the use of high-bandwidth applications such as Netflix, cloud backups and video calls is practically not possible at this station, with the exception of weekly Skype or FaceTime meetings that take place in a public kiosk or under mission-critical communications.

Although probably even now, the addition of Starlink Internet does not mean the possibility of fully using services such as Netflix or similar; Because the terminals are currently around 50 to 200 Mbps even in winter when the population of the station is less, they do not respond to such needs. However, such bandwidth can transfer important scientific data and better communication. Information from the Ice Continent helps. Information that according to "Mike England" (Mike England) due to being in the beta stage, it is still not possible to comment on their exact use. The company is available on all seven continents, and its ability to operate in remote locations such as Antarctica is thanks to the Starlink space laser network. Another continent has arrived, looking at the Starlink availability map, we see that the service is not yet available for use in Africa or Asia.

BingMag.com Starlink satellite internet reached the remote areas of Antarctica

Current Starlink Internet coverage
Credit: SpaceX

Currently, SpaceX is launching the service in at least two countries. It is running until the end in every continent. which include Nigeria, Mozambique, Japan and the Philippines. Although the company's satellites may still be able to provide services in these areas, at the same time, users still do not have access to the Starlink network on virtually all continents.

The same is true for Starlink maritime services. , which is currently only available in the coastal waters of some countries and only for customers of a company such as "Royal Caribbean". However, the company is planning to expand this coverage to most of the world's oceans early next year.

Wide coverage made possible by laser communications technology. Previously, to use Starlink, a ground station had to be located at a distance of several hundred kilometers from the receiver terminals because the satellite had to communicate with the dish and the station at the same time. It is terrestrial and terminals, with the direct communication of satellites with each other, this system has become more flexible. Thus, if a satellite connected to a dish cannot communicate with the ground station, it will communicate with another satellite that can, using a laser for inter-satellite data transfer.

This The technology is especially important as SpaceX plans to massively expand its coverage in 2023 so it doesn't have to build dozens of additional ground stations. Of course, it should be kept in mind that there are regulatory obstacles in this field.

To operate in any country, SpaceX must obtain a license for the frequency spectrum used, and thus the need to interact with hundreds of regulatory organizations in different countries. has it. Even this problem may be repeated several times depending on the new frequency spectrums. For example, there are currently challenges for terminals to use the 12 GHz frequency spectrum for 5G.

However, if the test in Antarctica is successful, it will show that SpaceX has at least the technology to cover the most remote areas. The regions have In addition, the ability of laser communication technology, whether about Starlink or other technologies such as Google's balloon internet, will prove its efficiency even more.

Cover photo: Starlink Satellite Internet Terminal at the Antarctic Research Center
Credit: National Science Foundation

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