SpaceX Starlink Dominance: Elon Musk Calls Out Boeing’s Satellite Retreat

As the night sky becomes increasingly populated with satellites, SpaceX Starlink stands out, not just for its ambitious broadband internet project but for its sheer dominance. With a constellation boasting around 5,000 satellites, Starlink has its eyes set on enveloping the globe with unparalleled internet connectivity. Curious about when you can tap into this cosmic network directly from your cell? Head to SpaceX’s website for their tentative roll-out dates.

While the grand vision permits a launch of up to 12,000 satellites, SpaceX isn’t stopping there. The company envisions a sky teeming with approximately 40,000 of its satellites. To put this in perspective, of the 8,700 satellites currently orbiting in low-Earth, over half bear the SpaceX emblem.

Enter the competition. Giants like Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin have shown interest in the game, yet SpaceX remains light-years ahead. Some argue, perhaps too far ahead.

In a twist, November 2021 saw Boeing secure an FCC license for 147 internet satellites, with aspirations to expand this number to 5,000. Fast forward to a year, and we witnessed Boeing testing one of its V-Band satellites, ironically aboard a SpaceX rocket.

However, the skies had other plans. By September 2023, Boeing decided to hand back its license, incurring a $2.2 million fee in the process. When probed about this decision, Michelle Parker, VP of Boeing Space Mission Systems, shared with Aerospace DAILY, “Our 2022 test flight was rich with insights. We believe in the potential of V-Band satellites and see them fitting into the tapestry of rising global satellite connectivity needs.”

But for now, Boeing’s dance with a V-band constellation is on hold. “We’re zooming in on other growth avenues,” Parker added. By October 12th, the FCC formally pulled back Boeing’s license.

Elon Musk, never one to shy away from a quip, remarked, “Rivaling SpaceX? It’s a tall order.”

While this unfolds, Musk and his team are gearing up for another monumental event: the second launch of SpaceX’s Starship rocket. The Federal Aviation Administration recently wrapped up its Starship safety review. However, before Starship takes flight, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has to give the green signal after their environmental review.

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