Starlink, the rocket company founded by Elon Musk, plans to surround Earth with thousands of low-orbit Starlink satellites.

In a tweet on Wednesday, Musk announced that the project will launch in private beta in as few as three months.  Areas to be included in the private beta will begin in high latitudes, and a public beta would follow in about six months.

As of March, SpaceX had launched 360 satellites, but is working towards having as many as 12,000 in low orbit by the end of the decade. SpaceX is hoping to fill a void in the world's communications infrastructure that has left a huge imbalance between well-connected urban cities and rural areas without acceptable networking infrastructures.

While an exciting proposal, especially for the more than 14 million people without any internet access and 25 million without the faster and more reliable broadband access, the internet-satellites plan has not come without backlash.  Some astronomers are worried that the influx of satellites could have ramifications for ground-based observation.

Musk has dismissed those concerns and said the company is also experimenting with sun shades and various paint schemes to help the satellites be less reflective.


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