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Elon Musk Dominates In Lower Space

Elon Musk’s SpaceX has launched more than half the low earth orbit (LEO) satellites being used for fast communications.

Data compiled by the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics says SpaceX has launched more than 5000 LEO satellites since 2019, with 1000 of them this year.

According to the centre, SpaceX operates 60 percent of LEO satellites in orbit now and has applied to operate 42,000 in total.

Its market share of 60 percent of LEO satellites puts it ahead of main rivals OneWeb, Amazon and Telesat, according to a report by Nikkei Asia.

The data was prepared by Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the centre.

SpaceX offers both low orbit satellite internet and mobile phone services.

Its Starklink broadband offers up to 240 megabits per second download speeds on $139 per month plans in rural Australia.

This month SpaceX Starlink signed deals with both Telstra and Optus to provide communication services via its LEO satellites.

“Telstra will be able to provide home phone service and Starlink broadband services to Aussies as a bundle offer, as well as local tech support and the option of professional installation,” the telco said in a blogpost on July 3.

Nine days later Optus announced a deal with Starlink involving smartphones. Australians will be able to use their regular smartphones to make calls from almost any location in the country, irrespective of whether there is cellular connectivity in the area.

SpaceX also has an agreement with Australian network solutions provider Vocus to bring Starlink Business to private business and government customers.

Telstra has an agreement with rival UK LEO satellite provider OneWeb to replace existing remote mobile base stations with satellite backhaul. However OneWeb has had an imperilled existence. It filed for bankruptcy in March 2020, but broke out of it by September the same year, after forging a deal with French space launch firm Arianespace.

SpaceX has deals with other telecommunication providers including T-Mobile in the US.

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