Starlink to end beta test in Oct
September 20, 2021
By Chris Forrester
Elon Musk, in one of his regular Tweets, says that the Starlink initial beta broadband-by-satellite test stage will end in October. This early adopter test-stage has more than 100,000 users spread over 17 countries.
SpaceX has launched almost 1,800 Starlink satellites into orbit and well over 1600 are fully working.
Musk’s Tweet suggests that a normal (non-beta) service could also be launched at about the same time. Not all countries have yet granted Starlink ‘landing rights’ for its signals, but the new Mk 2 versions with their laser inter-satellite links will help get those signals to and from their destination.
SpaceX has previously said it has pre-orders from some 600,000 potential users and Musk has admitted that the first half-million will get a service, but that handling “several million” users might be more of a challenge.
Those challenges will evaporate when more satellites are in orbit. The current plan is to have 4,425 in orbit by 2024 – and perhaps sooner if Musk’s giant Starship can be brought into use.