(ORDO NEWS) — SpaceX’s Starlink satellite Internet service has finally arrived at McMurdo Station on the coast of Antarctica. This means that it is now available – at least potentially – on all seven continents.
The US National Science Foundation, which funds the US Antarctic Program at McMurdo and elsewhere, announced the news on Twitter.
NSF-supported USAP scientists in Antarctica are on cloud nine! Starlink is testing a polar service at McMurdo Station, where it recently deployed a user terminal, increasing capacity and communications to support science, the agency said.
Since the McMurdo base is a major center for climatology and geology, there has already been a significant satellite link through a traditional provider. But competition for limited bandwidth is fierce. The addition of a Starlink terminal should alleviate some of these problems.
However, this is not quite a traditional scheme. As noted by SpaceX, “in a place as remote as Antarctica, this capability is powered by the Starlink space laser network.”
Space lasers sound cool, and they are, as they provide a high-speed connection between distant satellites – as long as you can keep the laser pointing in the right direction.
SpaceX is testing this to a limited extent, with the ultimate goal of allowing Starlink satellites to form a kind of mesh network that can connect even places as far away as Antarctica and mid-ocean to the internet.
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