Starlink's Space Lasers Could Launch Into Orbit Soon

But they're for data transfer, not battling space aliens

SpaceX is gearing up to launch its Starlink satellites that include what it refers to as "space lasers." 

In an email update sent out to Starlink subscribers this week, the company said it is "preparing to launch upgraded satellites that will include space lasers." According to Starlink, the space lasers will enable satellites to transfer data between one another without beaming it back down to a ground station. 

Starlink satellite

Starlink

The space lasers were originally announced last fall when the company successfully launched a test of the satellite space lasers into orbit in September. 

Lifewire reached out to SpaceX to find out an official timeline of when the space lasers would be launched into orbit, and will update when details become available.

In the company’s own words, the Starlink satellite project aims to "deploy the world’s most advanced broadband internet system" to provide "fast, reliable internet to locations where access has been unreliable, expensive, or completely unavailable."

SpaceX has routinely launched batches of its Starlink satellites into orbit since May 2019. According to space.com, SpaceX’s satellite total could reach more than 40,000, but as of June, that total number only sits at roughly 1,800 satellites. CNET said that Starlink would need about 10,000 satellites before the company can offer full global service. 

A view of the lights at night in the United States from space.

NASA / Unsplash

Early tests of Starlink satellites showed super-low latency and download speeds greater than 100 megabytes per second, which SpaceX said is "fast enough to stream multiple HD movies at once and still have bandwidth to spare." With a download speed of 100 Mbps, Starlink satellites would significantly exceed the average download speeds most currently experience at 12 to 25 Mbps. 

Starlink claims it will have operational global broadband coverage by September. The satellites will be vital in providing broadband access to rural areas lacking reliable internet service.

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