From Joey Roulette
WASHINGTON: SpaceX will test its Starlink satellite broadband service in beta until next year, the company said late Tuesday, indicating that the commercial service is not expected to be offered in 2020 as previously planned.
Hawthorne, California-based SpaceX, Elon Musk’s private space exploration company, has launched nearly 900 Starlink satellites into orbit since 2019 to deliver high-speed internet to rural areas around the world.
Musk said the Starlink service will be a crucial source of funding for its broader plans, such as developing the Starship super-heavy-lift rocket to fly paying customers to the moon and eventually try to colonize Mars.
“At our current pace, we expect to see our beta expand in a remarkable way very early next year, in late January through February,” SpaceX engineer Kate Tice said during a livestream Tuesday, before the 16th series of The company’s Starlink satellites launched.
A SpaceX spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.
SpaceX invited hundreds of people in rural states like Washington, Wisconsin, and Idaho to participate in the Better Than Nothing Beta Trials in October, opening the door to those who signed up to get the $ 499 setup Buy and test the company’s kit and pay $ 99 per person month for Internet service.
In the documents filed with the US Federal Communications Commission, the company had expected to offer commercial services by the end of 2020 and then “rapidly expand to near global coverage of the populous world in 2021”.
In November, SpaceX received approval from Canadian authorities to begin beta testing Starlink in the country, enabling “fairly broad public beta” in southern Canada.