Satellite Internet is Here to Stay

Patrick Chavez, Staff Writer

Starlink is a brand new project by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, with the ambitious goal of providing cheap, fast, and near-global internet access. According to Satnews, “SpaceX is leveraging its experience in building rockets and spacecraft to deploy the world’s most advanced broadband internet system. With performance that far surpasses that of traditional satellite internet, and a global network unbounded by ground infrastructure limitation.” Starlink boasts a light and compact design, singular solar array, and ion propulsion systems, all showing a vast improvement in technology. This advancement has the potential to reap great rewards, but is being held back by various concerns. Senior Sam Jablecki said, “The people who complained about 4G and 5G internet are the same people who complain about this.” 

 Despite the benefits of Starlink, it is met with mounting criticism, especially from the astronomical community, which claims that the number of satellites launched by SpaceX will obstruct scientific observation. 

Outside of this, the concern of space debris is an extreme concern. If an asteroid were to hit one satellite, it could cause a chain reaction. Scientific American claims that eliminating space debris, which is already a concern, will become a top priority with the introduction of mega-constellations. “Starlink will change the game, resulting in an estimated 67,000 annual collision-avoidance maneuvers if all of them are launched. A worst-case scenario would be the Kessler syndrome, a positive feedback loop in which debris-generating collisions create more and more collisions, which in turn create more and more debris, rendering parts of Earth orbit essentially unusable.”

With the success of Starlink, citizens of the world will have yet another powerful tool to make a meaningful difference. Senior Jessica Brooks-Capehart said, “[Starlink] will be great in case someone is in an emergency. I think it’s more important that people have the internet, rather than looking at the stars.” This viewpoint is reflected by most, as such technological advancements are simply too attractive to pass up. 

This evidence clearly provides reasons for concern, but the positives certainly outweigh the negatives. While precautions must be taken, with mitigation, Starlink will open the door to a new age of technological advancement.