STARLINK – A GIANT LEAP FOR MANKIND
History changed forever on 30 May 2020. Amidst the worldwide recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, SpaceX was the first private company to send astronauts into orbit and to the international space station. Musk and his team’s continued determination to create disruptive spaceflight technology made this possible, ensuring mankind took a much-needed space leap forward. Lesser known is the giant leap created several years ago by Musk’s Starlink project, a project Musk and most people hope will create a better future for everyone.
Starlink – The Doorway to The Future?
Starlink is a lightweight, constellation-type, flat-panel satellite that was designed to be placed in space by the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Its main purpose is the delivery of high-speed, broadband internet to users across the globe, even in the most remote areas.
With North America as its initial target market, the first Starlink satellites were launched in February 2018. A total of 480 Starlink satellites are currently in use, with ambitious plans for the launching of up to 12,000 satellites into orbit by 2021 to provide near-global coverage. In addition to these, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) has approved the placement of one million small ground antennas to support the above-mentioned satellite network.
The Economic and Scientific Impact of Starlink On Human Development
It goes without saying that Starlink will have a major impact on the livelihoods and development of even the most historically underserved communities. With its global program intended to reach even the remotest corners of our planet, every human being will be able to access information, at any time, from anywhere on Earth.
Sounds ambitious? It certainly is, and yet the Starlink project has been under development for several years, with services available for beta testing since 2020 in Canada and the USA. Check here whether your address is covered to sign up for a Starlink test account.
Musk emphasized that Starlink Internet would be affordable, to ensure that even the poorest in developing countries would have access. This will have a tremendously positive socio-economic impact on previously remote and poor communities. Take, for example, the positive impact we saw when Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group made it a priority to connect people in remote villages in China through its various products and services. The financial situation of once-poor villagers has improved dramatically over the past years, while communication with family members working in large cities became possible at the click of a button. Once Starlink becomes globally available and connects everyone via a device that can connect to the Internet, I suspect we will see the same shift in consciousness and a similar financial impact. Starlink will also ensure a cohesive ecosystem of knowledge, information, and education is made available to everyone.
Furthermore, by combining the technology that SpaceX and Starlink bring to the table, the foundation is laid for humans to access the far-flung inner planets of our solar system, and later, the outer planets. The knowledge gained from space exploration will be invaluable to the future development of mankind. It will help create new products and services on Earth at an ever-increasing rate.
Space exploration also means we will gain access to scarce resources, which are amply available in space but fought over on Earth. Imagine that instead of fighting over resources on Earth, we could keep our planet unpolluted and live sustainably, while harvesting the materials we need from asteroids or spent comets in space.
Starlink and SpaceX will be the vital cog in enabling us to access these resources, while simultaneously maintaining world peace and thus avoiding a devastating third world war.
With worldwide Internet, a surprise attack from a superpower will be virtually impossible.
According to the WEF (World Economic Forum), the financial impact on investments will be in the region of $1-trillion worldwide by 2025. Keep in mind that there is already one major benefit. Considering the devastating economic implications of COVID-19, it will be just in time for a worldwide economic recovery.
The world of science benefits equally from Starlink technology and worldwide availability. We can expect giant leaps in the field of artificial intelligence, wireless devices, communication, and even in the defense and weapons industries. Underserved communities will have access to online education and information, and scientists who struggle in developing countries could benefit from global communication and global support groups.
Healthcare and education will also benefit. Medical assistance would be available in the remotest corners of the Earth. The same applies to education; illiteracy in our world could become a thing of the past.
The Economic and Scientific Impact of Starlink On Human Development
It is safe to assume that across Africa, Asia, and South America, there are still a vast number of people living on or below the poverty line. Yet statistics indicate that even the most impoverished members of these communities have access to a mobile phone. Furthermore, the number of mobile phones sold worldwide has continued to grow, especially in third-world countries, with smartphone technology continually developing, making it possible to produce quality smartphones at more affordable prices.
A smartphone or even a mobile phone in the hands of a poor child, teenager, or young adult has transformational power. A phone is like a small computer and is most often used that way today in many communities. During the COVID-19 pandemic, especially, we saw more and more people going online, with online education and eCommerce at an all-time high.
The positive effect will be that those trying to better their circumstances will have fast and reliable access to the Internet to gain access to food, medical care, online education, worldwide communication, and support networks, and will be able to sell their own goods and services to a global market.
Whenever Starlink technology makes its way into our everyday lives, we should be aware that there will always be those that have and those that don’t have, whether it’s affordable or not. The reality is that technology is going to advance faster and faster. Some are going to stay in the race and others will fall behind. We can rest assured, though, that the human spirit will prevail and that Starlink technology will make it easier to look after those who fall or stay behind.
My hope is that we will all work together and use the new technologies for good to ensure a bright and connected future for all.
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