The Pentagon has given high praise to the satellite communications company Starlink.
- SpaceX rocket company and Starlink together can help provide internet connectivity to remote parts of the world.
- Starlink is testing high-rate connectivity to military bases in the Arctic and the results have improved internet connectivity “30-fold,” Bloomberg reports.
- The Pentagon has already contracted SpaceX for additional national security-based missions using the company’s Falcon Heavy launch platform.
Why it’s News
For as much chaos as Twitter has endured over the past three weeks, Elon Musk is still a visionary thinker and his companies Starlink and SpaceX are continuing to do cutting-edge and innovative work in space and environmental technologies.
Starlink’s first customers so far have been people living in rural areas with underdeveloped access to the internet, but the service has already been deployed by SpaceX to provide internet connectivity to disaster areas and to help bolster Ukraine’s war efforts. It currently has over 400,000 subscribers, according to Bloomberg.
Backing up a Bit
The Arctic Ocean is a sensitive area for U.S. national-security interests, as the coastline of Alaska, Canada, and Russia are nearby—with Russian deployments in its Northern Command expanding since 2014. China even has Arctic interests, having declared itself a “near Arctic state” in 2018. U.S. military deployments in the Arctic Ocean serve a crucial role.
“You can imagine an Army, Air Force, or Navy unit deployed to a remote location that doesn’t have the cell-phone service niceties and very quickly have communications at high-rates that an airman can set up in ten minutes—that’s a great capability to have,” says Air Force aerospace engineer Brian Beal.
“Key tests of Starlink in the Arctic are underway, Beal says. He says the Pentagon has deployed 50 terminals in locations across the region and is collecting data on throughput, latency, and other metrics. The tests will continue for six to 12 months as airmen use the terminals,” says Bloomberg.