Elon Musk's Starlink launches first-ever Direct-To-Cell satellite - Hindustan Times

Elon Musk's Starlink launches first-ever Direct-To-Cell satellite; here's how it works

ByVaishnawi Sinha
Jan 03, 2024 11:25 AM IST

Elon Musk announced on Wednesday the success of the Starlink mission headed by his aerospace firm SpaceX.

Billionaire Elon Musk announced and celebrated the successful launch of the Direct-To-Cell satellite of Starlink today through a SpaceX mission. The new satellite is expected to streamline internet connectivity for all its users.

Elon Musk announced the launch of Starlink's first-ever Direct To Cell satellite today. (Reuters)(Reuters file photo)
Elon Musk announced the launch of Starlink's first-ever Direct To Cell satellite today. (Reuters)(Reuters file photo)

Elon Musk's aerospace company SpaceX announced the launch of 21 new Starlink satellites on Wednesday at 9.30am, including six Direct-To-Cell satellites, which were carried aboard the Falcon 9 spacecraft of the company.

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SpaceX further confirmed that all the 21 Starlink satellites have been successful deployed and are in position at 10:20 am today. This is the first ever Direct-To-Cell satellite to be launched by Elon Musk's firm.

Starlink's Direct-To-Cell satellite is aimed at providing coverage to text, internet and mobile networks "wherever you see the sky", pointing at its all-terrain and location coverage. Here is all you need to know about the Direct-To-Cell service of the company.

What is Starlink's Direct-To-Cell service?

The first satellite of Starlink Internet's Direct-To-Cell was launched on January 3, and will start functioning once its in place over the next few days. The text function will be active in 2024, while the voice, data and IOT service will be active from 2025.

Direct To Cell technology will work with LTE phones, acting like a cell phone tower in space. This means that service will be available across all locations if you have an active signal from the satellite. No external connections or hardware are required for the same.

As mentioned on Starlink's official website, the satellites with Direct to Cell capability have an advanced eNodeB modem onboard that acts like a cellphone tower in space, allowing network integration similar to a standard roaming partner.

Connectivity will also be available in remote regions where Starlink has been launched. Those using Starlink Direct To Cell will have cell phone service in across the globe in all the partner countries, such as the US, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Switzerland, and Chile.

The main purpose of Direct To Cell is to provide users with high-speed connectivity in remote and rural areas, where other networks face problems. The Internet connection and cell service are expected to be faster and more reliable.

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