SPACEX appears to be launching its controversial “space WiFi” in the UK after trialling the service in the United States last year.
A photo posted last week by a Reddit user who claims to live in Devon shows a large grey box emblazoned with the Starlink logo.
The packaging resembles that received by early Starlink tester in the US and Canada, and reportedly contains the starter kit for early adopters.
That starter kit includes a Starlink router, as well as a satellite dish that users must affix to their homes.
“First Starlink in the UK?” wrote Reddit user OptiSport, who shared the image on December 31.
Starlink is a controversial scheme that aims to beam WiFi to people from space using a “mega constellation” of thousands of satellites.
Starlink starter boxes contain a special router and a satellite dish that users must affix to their homesCredit: Reddit/Bybby4j
The dish connects to a huge constellation of hundreds of satellitesCredit: SpaceX
The project’s maiden flight lifted off in 2018 and SpaceX, which is based in California, has shot almost 1,000 satellites into orbit so far.
The network is eventually set to reach 12,000, rising to as many as 42,000 in future.
SpaceX has not officially announced that it has launched Starlink in the UK. The Sun has reached out to the company for comment.
It follows reports in late December that SpaceX had begun sending out Starlink invites to UK fans on its mailing list.
SpaceX launches Starlink satellites in batches of 60Credit: Getty Images – Getty
The service reportedly costs £89 a month on top of a £439 fee for the router and dish.
Once set up, the dish connects to SpaceX’s satellite constellation, promising download speeds of up to 210 megabits per second (Mbps).
That’s more than six times the average download speed in the UK, or faster than 95 per cent of US connections.
SpaceX, which is run by billionaire Tesla CEO Elon Musk, launches Starlink satellites in batches of 60, firing hundreds into orbit every year.
SpaceX is owned and operated by billionaire Tesla CEO Elon MuskCredit: Getty – Pool
Astronomers and amateur stargazers have repeatedly blasted the firm for obscuring the night sky and ruining observations with orbiting tech.
SpaceX argues its satellites are only bright shortly after launch. Over several weeks, they move further from Earth, apparently dampening their disruptive glow.
The primary goal of Starlink is to create a network that will help provide WiFi to people in remote areas who are not yet connected.
SpaceX says the satellites will also provide reliable and affordable internet across the globe.
What is Starlink?
Here’s what you need to know…
- Starlink is a satellite project led by billionaire SpaceX CEO Elon Musk
- Musk intends to put 12,000 satellites into Earth’s orbit, possibly rising to 42,000 in future
- The ‘mega-constellation’ will eventually be able to beam internet coverage to anywhere on the planet
- SpaceX also intends to sell satellites for military, scientific and exploratory purposes
- The firm sends its satellites up in batches of 60 at a time and has so far deployed more than 360 into orbit.
- The satellites are launched atop unmanned Falcon 9 rockets, which are also built by SpaceX
- How the space tech will affect the night sky is causing concern as they look bright in the night sky
- Astronomers and amateur stargazers have repeatedly blasted the firm for ruining their observations
- SpaceX argues that its satellites are only bright shortly after launch because they sit in a low orbit
- Over several weeks, the satellites apparently move further from Earth, dampening their effect on space observations
In the UK, Starlink is competing with OneWeb, a failed US satellite company that Downing Street pumped £400million into last year.
The move means Britain is part of is part of a consortium with India’s Bharti Global which won a bidding war for the firm.
OneWeb has 74 satellites in orbit and eventually plans to beam WiFi from space using a constellation numbering in the thousands.
Ministers hope the investment will compensate for the loss of access to the EU’s Galileo programme in the wake of Brexit.
In other news, SpaceX recently launched a spy satellite into orbit.
ESA researchers think they’ve spotted an angel on Mars.
And a satellite that can look inside buildings at any time of day has been launched.
What do you think of Starlink? Let us know in the comments!
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