Satellite internet is going mainstream. So are its challenges
Space internet has the reputation for slow service. With its questionable signal strength and hardly Netflix-friendly bandwidth, the internet that’s beamed down from low-Earth orbit is the kind of thing you only turn to as a last resort or if you’re stuck on a long-haul flight. But in 2023, satellite-based internet is getting a major revamp. Private companies and governments are getting serious about their space internet projects. SpaceX has planned multiple launches—like the one with 51 satellites that is scheduled to take off from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California—that will send satellites into orbit to support its Starlink network. Each new batch joins the thousands of satellites SpaceX has already sent into orbit, including those of Starlink competitor, OneWeb. Amazon, meanwhile, plans to incorporate more than 3,000 satellites into its Project Kuiper satellite internet constellation and should launch its prototype satellites early this year. The expected surge in new satellites will make space internet a bigger presence in our day-to-day lives this year.
Elon Musk’s Starlink is only the beginning