RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Starlink satellites have been established as the future of internet for our planet, but they do have some of you thinking you are seeing a UFO in your backyard.
So, let’s go over the latest updates on Starlink, the Space X rocket that launches it, and how you can see these satellites flying over your house at night.
While the days of traditional space shuttle launches are long gone, it is much more frequent to now see numerous launches all over the country—a lot of those being SpaceX launches of their Falcon 9 rocket with Starlink satellites on board.
After these rockets go to space, they land back on a platform in the ocean or on land for later reuse. Pretty remarkable technology to begin with, but the payload is also pretty cool.
At the top of the rocket is where they store the Starlink satellites. These are the ones that are being launched by Elon Musk’s company Space X that will bring reliable internet to the entire planet.
There are anywhere from 20-50 satellites on board, they are small and flat which allows a lot to be launched at once with each one weighing about 600 pounds. They launch pretty frequently, sometimes once a week and they launch from both Florida and California.
There are already more than 5,000 Starlink satellites in space, but the plan is to have 20,000 of these small, low earth satellites orbiting the planet about 300 miles above us so the internet signal they are providing gets down to us here on the ground faster and more reliable than other satellites that are 20,000 miles up.
When these satellites are deployed and before they create a mesh around the planet, they are lined up in a row for calibration and testing. That’s usually right after the launch and this is what they look like.
It’s a pretty cool site—but it can also be pretty alarming if you don’t know what they are.
When you see them flying overhead, they are not actually lit up. They are reflecting the light from the sun. Eventually, they will be high enough up where you can’t see them. So you truly have to be lucky and in the right place at the right time to see them shortly after a launch.
Because the launches are so frequent and often rescheduled, it’s hard to plan out exactly when you can see these, unlike the International Space Station that we can really plan out because it’s always orbiting at the same speed and height.
If you want to get internet service by way of Starlink satellite, you can go to their website and sign up. It’s available in some places now, whereas other spots there is a waiting list until more come online in the next year.
To access the internet provided by the satellites, customers need to put a little receiver on their roof and it costs about $100 a month.