SpaceX, the aerospace manufacturer and space transportation company founded by Elon Musk, is expanding its Starlink Gateway network in the United States. The company plans to build and operate 99 Starlink Gateway stations in 40 U.S. states and territories, including Guam and Puerto Rico. These gateway stations play a crucial role in linking the Starlink satellites with internet data centers on the ground.
Currently, SpaceX operates approximately 150 ground stations, or Starlink Gateways, around the world. These gateways connect the Starlink satellites to existing fiber-optic infrastructures and send data to the satellites in Low Earth Orbit. However, with the launch of the Starlink V2 satellites, some of the satellites will not require direct connection to gateways. Instead, the V2 satellites will feature inter-satellite communication ‘laser links’ that enable them to beam data to each other in orbit, providing even faster internet service.
In December 2022, SpaceX filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to build or upgrade around 21 U.S. gateway sites with “E-band capabilities” for the Starlink V2 satellites. Some of these gateways are already operational. One such facility is being constructed in Adelanto, California. The Adelanto facility will support the second-generation Starlink satellites and provide faster and more reliable internet services. It includes eight 5-foot diameter antennas.
The Adelanto project is part of SpaceX’s broader plan to deploy its second-generation satellites and expand internet coverage across the United States. Adelanto Mayor Gabriel Reyes expressed enthusiasm for the project, stating that it would create well-paying jobs and improve the quality of life for residents. The project is expected to significantly enhance uplink and downlink speeds, promising a more seamless internet experience for users.
In addition to Adelanto, SpaceX has requested to build or already operates Starlink Gateway sites in various locations, including Anchorage, Arkansas; Bellingham, Washington; Boca Chica, Texas; Brewster, Washington; Charleston, South Carolina; Cheyenne, Wyoming; Columbus, Ohio; and many more. These gateway sites equipped with “E-band capabilities” will provide faster uplink and downlink speeds to meet the growing demand for high-speed internet access.
As of now, SpaceX operates approximately 4,764 satellites in Low Earth Orbit, delivering high-speed internet services to over 1.5 million subscribers worldwide. With the construction of new Starlink Gateways and the deployment of second-generation satellites, SpaceX aims to revolutionize global internet connectivity even further.
Overall, SpaceX’s expansion of its Starlink Gateway network in the United States is a significant step toward providing faster and more reliable internet services to users across the country. The company’s innovative approach, including the use of inter-satellite communication ‘laser links,’ promises to revolutionize global internet connectivity and bridge the digital divide.