SpaceX Now Has 1,469 Starlink Satellites Active, Laser Links Activating Soon
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk on Saturday morning provided an update on Starlink, the company’s constellation of satellites for internet serving rural customers.
Musk said there are now 1,469 Starlink satellites active, with 272 “moving to operational orbits” at the moment. He also added, “laser links activate soon.”
The latest Starlink satellites have optical laser links, allowing data to be transferred between satellites and able to reduce latency by as much as 50%, according to Musk, “due to higher speed of light in vacuum & shorter path than undersea fiber” he said last July.
Laser links in orbit can reduce long-distance latency by as much as 50%, due to higher speed of light in vacuum & shorter path than undersea fiber
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 15, 2021
By moving data between satellites with lasers, there will be no need to ping ground stations, allowing Starlink to expand and better improve service for remote areas it serves.
Musk said in July the wavelength would be “similar to fiber optic. We are trying to ride the terrestrial fiber optic laser technology forcing function, but modified for use in vacuum.”
“If we can do this successfully, then anything developed for ground/undersea fiber is automatically better in orbit,” concluded Musk last summer.
Back in August of last year, SpaceX paused Starlink launches to upgrade its satellites with laser technology.