Elon Musk says public beta testing for Starlink will begin ‘very soon’

SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk said on social media this week his internet venture, Starlink, will go into its public beta testing phase “very soon”.

Emergency response assistance

This follows after CNBC’s Michael Sheetz reported that SpaceX is working with Washington’s emergency response team “to bring satellite internet to places devastated by recent wildfires”.

Sheetz interviewed the emergency telecommunications leader of the Washington State Military Department’s IT division, Richard Hall, who said Starlink is reliable and quick to set up”. Hall added:

“Starlink easily doubles the bandwidth [in comparison with other networks]. I’ve seen lower than 30 millisecond latency consistently”.

“A revolution in connectivity”, – Musk

Musk followed that up by explaining that “Starlink will be a revolution in connectivity; especially for remote regions or for emergency services when landlines are damaged”.

He added that Starlink was also designed to enable competitive gaming and confirmed that public beta will begin “very soon for higher latitudes like Seattle” in the United States.

However, Musk explained that the Starlink programme would probably only roll out to the public “several years in the future when revenue growth is smooth and predictable”.

“Public market does not like erratic cash flow […] I’m a huge fan of small retail investors. Will make sure they get top priority. You can hold me to it”.

Starlink will be a “way for SpaceX to generate revenue that can be used to develop more and more advanced rockets and spaceships”. According to Musk, Starlink could bring in as much as $30 billion in revenue a year.

Musk hints at upcoming Starship update

In other news, Elon Musk also confirmed that a Starship update will be “coming in about three weeks”. SpaceX is currently preparing for the much-awaited October Starship presentation. Musk added:

“Starship update coming in about [three] weeks. The design has coalesced. What is presented will actually be what flies to orbit as V1.0 with almost no changes.”

Starship prototype progress

Back in August, SpaceX’s Starship prototype took its first hop towards Mars when it successfully completed a hop test and landed in one piece. A hop test is a controlled takeoff and landing.

It’s a technique also utilised to land Falcon 9 rockets on a drone ship after a flight, most recently the flight that took US astronauts Bob and Doug on a milestone trip to the International Space Station aboard the Crew Dragon capsule.

In September, Musk shared an update regarding the Starship SN8 prototype ahead of scheduled Raptor engine model test on the 17th. At the time, Musk explained:

“SN8 Starship with flaps and nosecone should be done in about a week. Then static fire, checkouts, static fire, fly to 60 000 ft and back”.

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