SpaceX president Gwen Shotwell said Elon Musk's Starlink satellite internet unit expects to be able to provide continuous global coverage by September but then needs to get regulatory approvals. Shotwell's comments came during her participation in a technology conference for the Macquarie Group via webcast.
President said, we have successfully deployed 1,800 satellites or so. Once all of these satellites are in operational orbit, we will have continuous global coverage. So that should be like the September timeframe. But then we have regulatory work to go to each country and get approval to provide telecom services.
Shotwell said Starlink, which said it plans to deploy 12,000 satellites in total at a cost of about $10 billion, is currently providing experimental services in 11 countries.
Musk said in May that the satellite network had received more than 500,000 pre-orders for its Internet service and did not expect any technical problems in fulfilling the demand.
This year, the US Federal Communications Commission approved SpaceX's plan to deploy some Starlink satellites into lower Earth orbit than planned. This is in order to provide high-speed broadband Internet services to people who currently lack access.
Starlink is one of a growing number of small satellite makers. Which also includes Amazon's Kuiper, Britain's OneWeb, and Blue Canyon. Meanwhile, SpaceX has submitted regulatory documents requesting permission to conduct at least six launches of Starlink satellites from its facilities on the East Coast. This hints that SpaceX is continuing to work on reactivating the company's only West Coast launch pad.
And last month, Starlink passed a major milestone with SpaceX's successful 28th satellite launch. This effectively completed the laying of the first 1,600 satellites. Technically, about 1,100 of these satellites are operational. While 530 of these other satellites are still being processed. This is in order to boost themselves to their final orbits.
Once all the satellites in orbit have completed this process. The Starlink constellation is able to deliver an uninterrupted Internet to almost anyone on Earth.