SpaceX's senior program reliability engineer, Kate Tice stated that the Starlink project was showing download speeds more than a 100 Mbps, this claim was later accepted to be an error, even though the current results might not be skyrocketing the fact that this company has Elon Musk's portfolio tagged along with it already sets a high bar of expectation but let's look at it from a practical point of view.
What is SpaceX and how does it connect to Starlink?
SpaceX is a California based private American aerospace manufacturer.
Founded in 2002 by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, SpaceX aimed to build affordable spaceships and enable the colonization of Mars.
The company has had a vast growth from having 150 staff members in 2005 to around 7000 as of November 2019. As of March 2018, SpaceX has had over 100 launches on it's manifest representing about 12 billion dollars in contract revenue.
Starlink is SpaceX's enterprising plan to launch close to 12,000 satellites into lower orbits around the Earth to provide broadband coverage, the driving factor of this project is to make broadband services available in rural areas and at a faster rate.
Starlink's broadband service
Users are meant to tap into the constellation via personal antennas on the ground. The antenna was described as a UFO on a stick by the Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
During the launch of the latest batch of internet-beaming satellites, SpaceX released some details about the planned constellations, they claimed the satellites have shown "Super low latency and download speeds greater than 100 Mbps". These speeds have still not been reached and SpaceX says their initial results have been good, as of now 700 satellites have been put into the orbit and need 400 more to provide "initial operational capability" which will be later followed by 800 more to provide "significant operational capabilities".
Tice said the latency speed has been "low enough to play the fastest video games, and our download speed is fast enough to stream multiple HD movies at once".
This might sound impressive but it is still, but it's still not close to the gigabit speeds promised by SpaceX in its initial filing.
Demonstrating high speeds is key for SpaceX as they are looking for funds from an FCC auction. The FCC is offering up to 16 billion dollars to projects that can bring broadband services to census blocks that are entirely unserved by voice and broadband.
According to SpaceX, its Starlink satellites could help with data sharing and during the speech, Tice noted that they had successfully tested two satellites in orbits that had inter-satellite links, termed as "space lasers" that allows the satellite to transfer hundreds of gigabytes of data between two spacecraft.
Once space lasers are fully deployed, Starlink will be one of the fastest options available to transfer data through the world as backed by SpaceX's senior program reliability engineer, Tice.
While the constellation is being developed, SpaceX is open to public beta testing, interested users can sign up through the companies websites, you can provide your email and address to see if you qualify for the program. These beta tests will provide a better database for the engineers at SpaceX and this might yield better results from this exciting project.