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Question – Recently what has been a topic of discussion ‘Space Internet’ and ‘Starlink project’? Why do you think it is needed and what are the major challenges before it? Analyze. – 5 June 2021
- A private company named Space X launched Starlink Project 2015 to launch a total of 42,000 satellites in Earth’s lower orbit i.e. Lower Earth Orbit-LEO to provide space internet facilities. Under this project, satellites will be launched in such a way that a satellite constellation will be built around the earth.
- These satellites of Earth will work with the help of transceivers. In addition, Space X is also planning to sell some of the satellites of this satellite constellation to serve military, scientific and mining purposes.
- Space Internet means providing Internet services in the world through space, that is, to provide Internet service by launching satellites into space.
- It should be noted that the Internet services currently provided are based on thousands of kilometers long optical fiber network, lying under the sea. The problem with this is that due to being under the sea, it costs a lot in laying and maintenance, as well as these cables laying on the sea floor often damaged by sea storms, earthquakes, high tides, landslides and fishing vessels.
- Due to limited availability of space internet at present, this service is being used only by government institutions and people of some countries. The availability of this space internet service is being done through satellites launched in Geostationary Orbit-GEO, which has limited reach.
- The time taken to send and receive data by satellites in GEO orbit, in technical language is called ‘latency’, is more than that of Lower Earth Orbit (LEO), which does not allow internet data to be transmitted in real time. Whereas the satellites that are launched into the Earth’s lower orbit (LEO) will take a very short time, about 20 milli-seconds to receive and send data, which can be halved later. This will enable internet data to be transmitted in near real time, but for this a large number of satellites will also be required.
Why the need?
- Currently, almost 4 billion population of the world, which is more than half of the world’s population, has no access to internet.
- When it is not possible to provide access to the Internet through systems like optical fiber, cable and wireless in remote areas, such as hilly areas and other inconvenient areas, in such a situation Space Internet can be an effective option to meet the challenges.
- The use of this Internet system will ensure uninterrupted access to the Internet even in remote areas. Apart from this, access to internet facility will also be ensured at a lower cost than the internet accessed by cable and optical fiber.
- The cost of cable and optical fiber will also be avoided with the cost of using cable internet.
- Installing such a number of satellites in the Lower Earth Orbit will create space waste.
- This will give rise to a condition of ‘Kessler syndrome’.