SpaceX’s Starlink satellite is one of the most famous spacecraft in the world.
Currently there are over 3,000 starlink satellite In orbit, SpaceX plans launch moreAlthough these satellites are primarily designed to provide broadband internet to remote or underserved areas, many other uses are planned for the innovative constellation. is already in use.
Starlink satellites always make the headlines for their number of launches, space x It runs every year, not to mention the impact satellites have did astronomy When Russian invasion of Ukrainethere are many strange facts about Starlink flying under the radar.
1. The name “Starlink” comes from the book “The Fault in Our Stars”.
According to SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk, the name “Starlink” comes from the 2012 novel “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green.Musk tweeted an explanation (opens in new tab) In 2018, he wrote, “The name was inspired by The Fault in Our Stars, if anyone is interested.”
The novel follows 16-year-old Hazel Lancaster who is diagnosed with terminal cancer. At a cancer support group, Hazel meets another cancer patient, Augustus, and the two fall in love. The novel highlights the fact that while emotional pain is a constant of human existence, at least we can choose with whom we share that pain.
For those interested, the name was inspired by The Fault in Our StarsFebruary 21, 2018
2. Starlink runs on the open source Linux operating system
According to SpaceX resource page (opens in new tab)Starlink satellites run on the open source operating system Linux.
Linux (opens in new tab) It was created in 1991 by Finnish software engineer Linus Torvalds to create a free, open and shared operating system that could be tailored to a user’s specific computer hardware.
By design, Linux is easy to customize, making it ideal for specific use cases like Starlink satellites. In addition, Linux-based operating systems can take advantage of a worldwide repository of open source programs and tools, enabling rapid prototyping of new hardware and software.
3. Starlink 2.0 is even bigger – much bigger
SpaceX recently received the following approvals from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA): Deployed 7,500 Starlink 2.0 satellitesThese second-generation Starlink satellites are reportedly larger and more capable than their predecessors.
The first-generation Starlink satellites weighed 573 pounds (259 kg), while Starlink 2.0 weighed 2,755 pounds (1250 kg). told Tim Dodd of Everyday Astronaut (opens in new tab).
To launch these larger Starlinks into orbit, SpaceX will eventually begin using Starship, its gigantic new Mars and Moon rocket. Starship is still in development, but SpaceX Planning an orbital test soon.
4. Starlink satellites use lasers to communicate
SpaceX Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell said at the 36th Annual Space Symposium in 2021 that all Starlink satellites from that point forward will: Equipped with laser cross link Allow them to communicate with each other.
This allows Starlink satellites in the constellation to share data and reduce reliance on ground stations. These laser links enable satellite-to-satellite Internet traffic sharing around the world, eliminating the need to relay signals to terrestrial Internet networks.
Laser crosslinks allow Starlink constellations to transmit Internet connectivity to the most remote locations, including the poles.
5. Starlink Mars Declaration of Independence
star link terms of service (opens in new tab) It includes a section saying that if SpaceX reaches Mars and establishes a service there, the company will be completely independent of any government on Earth.
“For services provided on Mars or traveling to Mars via Starships or other spacecraft, both parties recognize Mars as a free planet and Earth-based governments have no control over Mars activity. We acknowledge that we do not have the authority or sovereignty over the “Disputes will therefore be resolved through the principles of self-government established in good faith at the time of the Mars Settlement.”
SpaceX has plans to put humans on Mars by the end of the decadeaccording to comments by company management.
6. Starlink is available in Antarctica
Starlink Internet service is available in some of the most remote locations on Earth. including Antarctica.
Scientists from the United States Antarctic Program (USAP) conducted experiments at the research outpost at McMurdo Station. “NSF-backed USAP scientists in #Antarctica are overjoyed! Starlink is testing polar services on newly deployed user terminals at McMurdo Station, providing bandwidth and connectivity to support science. ,” said the National Science Foundation. speaking on twitter (opens in new tab) September 2021.
SpaceX will begin launching satellites into polar orbits in September 2021. First West Coast Launch At Vandenberg Space Force Station, California. “These polar launches will allow full global coverage (if approved by local authorities),” Musk said. Tweet in July 2022 (opens in new tab).
7. Starlink is responsible for UFO sightings
Starlink satellite trains can look pretty weird in the sky. Despite the fact that SpaceX took steps to make Starlink looks dark in the night skythe satellite can become very bright after being released as it enters orbit.
In addition to being mistaken for UFOs, these sightings pose other concerns. It is to spoil the dark sky conditions necessary for astronomy.The International Astronomical Union to the United Nations take steps to protect the night sky From the Starlink constellation.
8. U.S. Air Force Uses Starlink for Live-Fire Exercises
Starlink is most often discussed in terms of broadband internet sending beams to remote locations, but satellite constellations have other uses. It’s about providing connectivity to military assets.
Starlink is widely used by Russia’s ongoing Ukrainian army Invasion of Ukraine2020, US Air Force and SpaceX teamed up for live-fire exercises (opens in new tab) Starlink satellites shared data with U.S. military assets that shot down drones and cruise missiles.
Since then, SpaceX has created the Starlink partner project. star shield This is for US military and related agencies only. According to SpaceX, Starshield offers a higher level of security than Starlink, “with additional high-assurance encryption to host sensitive payloads and process data securely, meeting the most stringent government requirements. fulfilled.” star shield page (opens in new tab).
9. Starlink signals may be “reverse engineered” for use as location services
SpaceX has received requests in recent years to use the Starlink constellation as a GPS-like location, navigation and timing service, but SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has so far rejected them.
But a research team at the University of Texas at Austin has found a way to do just that in October 2022. Reverse engineering of Starlink signals (opens in new tab)They discovered that a navigation system could be formed using repeating beacon signals from the Starlink constellation designed to help ground-based receivers connect with satellites.
“It’s a very general framework and can be applied to any signal, terrestrial or extraterrestrial,” said Todd Humphreys t of UT Austin.Old MIT Technology Review (opens in new tab)“It learns on the fly, tells you what’s being sent, and tells you where you are.”
10. China Simulated Destroying Starlink with a Nuclear Explosion
More and more Starlink satellites used as a military assetmany of its US peer rivals have concerns about the zodiac sign.
In fact, a team of Chinese researchers at the Northwest Institute of Nuclear Technology, a research institute run by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, recently published a paper discussing how Starlink could be destroyed or neutralized. what is their solution? Detonate a nuclear weapon in space.
according to south china morning post (opens in new tab) (SCMP), researchers have suggested that a 10-megaton nuclear detonation is powerful enough to d. destroy it,” the researchers wrote in a publication in the Chinese magazine Nuclear Techniques, he reported SCMP.