Your submission is now in Draft mode.

Once it's ready, please submit your draft for review by our team of Community Moderators. Thank you!

Submit Essay

Once you submit your essay, you can no longer edit it.


This content now needs to be approved by community moderators.


This essay was submitted and is waiting for review.

Will SpaceX's Starlink start deployment by 2021?


In November 2016, SpaceX filed an application with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a license to use portions of telecommunications frequencies to communicate with a network of satellites that would bring internet coverage to every point on the planet, no matter how remote. Named Starlink (thankfully not called "Skynet"), this network would provide speeds of up to one gigabit per second (Gbps). Each satellite would have a total throughput of about 20 Gbps, utilizing a 2 GHz frequency band in the 11-15 GHz range.

But the most ambitious aspect of SpaceX's plan is the number of satellites they plan to launch: 4,425 satellites, with a potential for 7,518 satellites in orbital planes even closer to the ground. Only 1,500 satellites currently orbit Earth.

On Feb. 22, 2018 SpaceX launched two test satellites, Tintin-1 and Tintin 2, which appear to share many of the characteristics of the satellites that the plan would eventually deploy.

But will Starlink actually happen? And when? A full system as described could cost tens of billions of dollars total, and it is unclear whether the financing is in place. And there are competitive efforts by the OneWeb satellite constellation, a major Samsung effort and others. We'll ask:

By 2021, will at least ten Starlink satellites have been launched and be in orbit?

This can include the Tintins, and is aimed at whether "production level" satellites are starting to be put aloft.

Make a Prediction


Note: this question resolved before its original close time. All of your predictions came after the resolution, so you did not gain (or lose) any points for it.

Note: this question resolved before its original close time. You earned points up until the question resolution, but not afterwards.

Current points depend on your prediction, the community's prediction, and the result. Your total earned points are averaged over the lifetime of the question, so predict early to get as many points as possible! See the FAQ.