A Washington town ravaged by wildfires this month has been supplied with an internet connection thanks to Elon Musk’s “Starlink” project.
The state’s Emergency Management Division shared a photo of a SpaceX antenna on its Twitter profile yesterday—taking advantage of Musk’s in-progress satellite constellation, which has been pitched as way of providing high speed broadband across the globe.
Authorities indicated that it was supplied for first responders working to rebuild the small town of Malden. On September 8, police said 80 percent of the area, including homes and city government buildings, had been totally destroyed by flames.
“Happy to have the support of @SpaceX‘s Starlink internet as emergency responders look to help residents rebuild the town of Malden, WA that was overcome by wildfires earlier this month,” WA Emergency Management wrote in a caption.
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It added: “Malden is an area where fiber and most of the town burned down. Without this equipment, it would have been much harder for folks to get internet in that area.” In a later update, the account said that the equipment was provided for free.
In a tweet on Monday, SpaceX’s billionaire CEO Musk said he was “glad” to help and noted the project was now “prioritizing emergency responders and locations with no internet connectivity.”
There are currently around 120 Starlink satellites being built every month, with hundreds already launched into orbit, according to SpaceX data obtained by CNBC. Ultimately, the plan is to have around 12,000 units beaming internet down to earth.
The 260kg satellites are shot into space onboard a “Falcon 9” rocket in batches of 60. SpaceX forecasts that “near global coverage” could be achieved next year.
Musk, who also runs electric car company Tesla, suggested on his Twitter