SpaceX’s Internet and cellular service, Starlink, reported a recent network outage that affected users worldwide for a few hours.
The global service provides an alternative to big-name cellular systems that rely on land-based towers for much of their connectivity.
Starlink utilizes 4500 small, low-orbit satellites that cover many parts of the world that are underserved by cellular services.
The network issue has been fully resolved
— Starlink (@Starlink) September 13, 2023
Skywatchers are familiar with seeing Starlink “trains” which show up as a long line of lights that travel in a long line in the sky.
SpaceX, the Elon Musk-owned company that offers the Starlink service, began launching these satellites in 2019 after years of development.
The service quickly became popular in corners of the world where cell towers and distances made it prohibitive for regular cell providers to operate.
The company now provides services in over 60 countries.
The recent outage also brought more light to the conversation of how the service is being utilized.
In war-torn Ukraine, the service has been a lifeline offering consistent communications through the two-year war.
Recently, Musk made news by refusing to support the use of the service by the Ukrainian military to launch an attack on Russia in the eastern part of the country.
The reported outage occurred in the middle of the Ukrainian night during a new offensive and caused problems with the coordination of troop movements.
This followed the release of an excerpt from Walter Isaacson’s forthcoming biography of Musk, which relates a similar story where Musk curtailed a Ukrainian drone attack on Russian ships by interrupting service.
Senator Elizabeth Warren has called for a government investigation of the incident reported in the biography.
This continues to bring the question of the personal politics of CEOs and the services that they provide.