Elon Musk’s Starlink space internet project has reportedly started providing internet connection to a Native American tribe after the latter connected to the web of satellites. As reported by the Independent, the Hob Tribe in Washington State has started using Starlink’s high-speed broadband which has also enabled learning in remote areas and telehealth communications for the first time, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The media outlet quoted the vice-chairman of the Hoh Tribe, Melvinjohn Ashue acknowledging that they’re “very remote”. Crediting Elon Musk’s SpaceX project to have ‘catapulted’ them into the 21st century, he noted that for the last eight years, the tribe had been trying to get internet but reached nowhere. Currently, there are nearly 800 Starlink satellites in the low-Earth orbit, and it offers internet connectivity to northern areas of the United States and Canada. Eventually, SpaceX aims at launching tens of thousands of more such satellites for “near-global coverage of the populated world by 2021.”
Starlink is reportedly Elon Musk's dream project with a target of a massive constellation of as many as 12,000 satellites into space. As the project continues to expand, SpaceX has ramped up its lift-offs by launching 60 satellites in space after every 14 days. Even though the current plan is to deploy around 12,000 such satellites in the space, the company has stated that the ultimate goal is to take the same number up to 42,000. SpaceX is also sending out invitations to people who are interested in the potential low-cost internet service to apply for receiving updates on Starlink news and beta availability.
Meanwhile, While SpaceX’s Starlink is bettering remote life on Earth, NASA launched a ‘space toilet’ to enhance life on International Space Station (ISS). Recently, NASA launched a spacecraft with nearly 8,000 pounds of scientific investigations, technology demonstrations, commercial products along with cargo that includes research on cancer treatments and a “new space toilet”. A Northrop Grumman Cygnus resupply spacecraft blasted off from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia at 9:16 PM EDT on Friday, October 2. It reached the International Space Station (ISS) around 5:20 AM EDT on Monday, October 5.
Expected to remain at the ISS until mid-December, the toilet for astronauts on the Cygnus cargo ship is an up-gradation from the current facility in space. The new female-friendly addition would help the organisation in preparing for its future missions to Mars and the Moon and reportedly costs $23 million.