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You could be a Starlink beta tester

Published Jun 22nd, 2020 7:05PM EDT
starlink beta
Image: SpaceX

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  • SpaceX now has a sign-up page for those who are interested in potentially testing out its new Starlink internet service.
  • The beta is not yet live, but a private rollout is expected this summer followed by a public beta in the not-so-distant future.
  • SpaceX currently has around 500 Starlink satellites in orbit, but eventually plans on having up to 54,000.

It was just days ago that SpaceX began allowing some of its high-profile friends to test out its new satellite-based internet service

, Starlink. The company has been launching Starlink satellites by the dozens for many months now, and has around 500 operational satellites in orbit around Earth as we speak.

Now, for the first time, the company is opening the door for regular folks to join a beta testing program for Starlink, and all you have to do is sign up and cross your fingers. The sign-up page is already live and available on SpaceX’s website.

After you sign up for updates about Starlink’s rollout you’ll receive an email that offers a bit more context on the status of the high-speed internet service. Here’s the automated email in full:

Thank you for your interest in Starlink!

Starlink is designed to deliver high speed broadband internet to locations where access has been unreliable, expensive, or completely unavailable. Private beta testing is expected to begin later this summer, followed by public beta testing, starting with higher latitudes.

If you provided us with your zip code, you will be notified via email if beta testing opportunities become available in your area. In the meantime, we will continue to share with you updates about general service availability and upcoming Starlink launches.

As you can see, private beta testing may begin as early as this summer, but public beta testing will come sometime later. Individuals in the Northern Hemisphere will be the first to get a taste of SpaceX’s internet service, and it’ll slowly spread to new areas over time and as the company continues to expand its satellite grid.

It’s worth noting just how early this testing really is. 500 satellites may sound like a lot, and apparently, it’s enough to begin testing the service, but the company has already stated that it expects tens of thousands of the Starlink satellites to be deployed before it can begin offering the service as an actual product.

Eventually, the Starlink satellite network could be made up of as many as 54,000 individual pieces of orbiting hardware. That’s a whole lot of high-tech gear floating around Earth, but it may be necessary for the company to provide the kind of planet-spanning high-speed data that it wants to.

Typically, SpaceX launches the satellites in groups of 60 via the company’s Falcon 9 rockets. In the future, the SpaceX Starship vehicle could potentially send many more Starlink satellites to space in a single trip, but first, that spacecraft needs to prove it can get off the ground.

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