SpaceX might soon become the world’s first space-based, internet service provider with its planned array of Starlink satellites. The company recently launched two demonstration orbiters for its internet-beaming project in February and they’ve reportedly been able to deliver some impressive browsing results during initial tests.
Indeed, SpaceX engineers have used the connectivity provided by the spacecraft — dubbed Tintin A and B — watch high-resolution videos and play online video games, which all seems surprisingly chill for the fast-paced workplace. Based on these early successes, the company goal told Reuters it is “pretty much on target” to begin providing service by 2020 with initial launches beginning in mid-2019.
“[Tintin A and B are] happy and healthy and we’re talking with them every time they pass a ground station, dozens of times a day,” an unnamed SpaceX employee told the publication. “We were streaming 4k YouTube and playing ‘Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’ from Hawthorne to Redmond in the first week.”
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission, which governs orbital satellites, has been working closely with SpaceX on perfecting the Tintins’ path. The agency confirmed to Reuters that it had green-lit SpaceX’s request to increase the spacecraft’s altitude. This will likely affect where the rest of the array will be situated.
Starlink has been approved by the FCC to proceed with a total of 4,425 small satellites in low-Earth orbit, which is more than double the amount of satellites that are currently. SpaceX has hopes to nearly double that number with a new filing to bring the total number to 7,518.
An anonymous SpaceX engineer even told Reuters that the company has contemplated adding another 10,000 satellites to its initial figure. But the FCC did not confirm this claim.
SpaceX didn’t reveal if their engineers suffered any lag when they streamed YouTube and played Counter-Strike. But we might soon be able to sign up for a “Starlink” plan when browsing for ISPs. Let’s cross our fingers and hope it makes for optimal gaming.