Science

Elon Musk led SpaceX to partner with local firms to make satellite gear in India

As Elon Musk-led SpaceX gears to launch its high-speed broadband internet service Starlink in India sometime in 2022, the aerospace manufacturer, space transportation company plans to extend partnership with Indian firms to locally manufacture satellite communication equipment including antenna systems as well as user terminal devices. Elon Musk’s $74 billion rocket company has begun taking pre-orders of its ambitious high-speed internet program ‘Starlink’ in India.

During SpaceX’s first official meeting with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) secretary Anshu Prakash, Matt Botwin, the company’s director stated that SpaceX is excited to find ways to work with the Indian industry for manufacturing products for its Starlink devices.

Botwin continued to state that “SpaceX always looks for opportunities to maximise the efficiency of its global supply chain, and is now looking forward to working with its partners in India to recognise those opportunities.” The meeting marked SpaceX’s first official comments on its plan with India in the satellite communications space.

Holistic Roadmap to locally manufacture satellite communications

The DoT had called for a meeting with global satellite companies to deliberate on a comprehensive and holistic roadmap with a view to locally manufacture satellite communications gear and to discuss the ways to create an enabling regulatory regime for global low earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellation operators in order to establish in-country gateways in India.

The meeting with the global satellite companies included officials from OneWeb, Viasat, Hughes, Airtel NSE -0.14 %, Reliance Jio, Vodafone Idea, Department of Space, and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.

Starlink in India: Elon Musk’s SpaceX internet program began pre-booking

India’s satellite-based communications space is heating up as SpaceX, Bharti Global-backed OneWeb and Jeff Bezos-led Amazon’s Project Kuiper are eyeing India’s emerging satellite broadband space.

Also, it is worth mentioning that from 5th March 2021 onwards, SpaceX has been accepting pre-orders of its high-speed internet program Starlink. The official website of Starlink mentioned that the pre-booking service is available at a refundable fee of $99 (around & Rs 7,000). The website also read that Starlink is available to a limited number of users and hence, orders will be fulfilled on a first-served basis.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX, of which Starlink is a venture, has already sent 1000 such satellites to the Earth’s orbit. In the future, the company plans to expand the number to a network of 12,000 satellites. Unlike traditional satellites, Starlink’s satellites are 60 times closer to the Earth, thereby facilitating high-speed internet.

All you need to know about Starlink

Although satellite internet is in its beta stage, Starlink has been accepting pre-orders and promises to deliver high-speed, low-latency internet services in the United States and internationally.

One might wonder how satellite internet works? Starlink satellites are positioned in the Earth’s orbit and currently, the SpaceX venture has already sent 1000 such satellites and the company aims to expand the number to a network of 12,000 satellites. Distinguishing from the traditional satellites, Starlink’s satellites are 60 times closer to the Earth, thereby facilitating high-speed internet.

The traditional internet uses optic fiber cables, while satellite internet makes use of geostationary satellites for providing the internet to users. Optic fiber cables are vulnerable to damage but satellite internet is not susceptible to any such issues. Hence, satellite internet ensures a faster and better connection. During testing, the internet speed for Starlink was found to be between 50Mbps and 150 Mbps. In 2021, the speed will be doubled to 300 Mbps. The company plans to increase the speed to even up to 1 Gbps.

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