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Starlink’s Inter-Satellite Laser Links Are Setting New Record With 42 Million GB Per Day

Accepted submission by Freeman at 2024-02-05 20:11:06 from the space lasers dept.
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SpaceX's laser system [] for Starlink is delivering over 42 petabytes of data for customers per day, an engineer revealed today. That translates into 42 million gigabytes.

“We're passing over terabits per second [of data] every day across 9,000 lasers,” SpaceX engineer Travis Brashears said today at SPIE Photonics West, an event [] in San Francisco focused on the latest advancements in optics and light.
Although Starlink [] uses radio waves to beam high-speed internet to customers, SpaceX has also been outfitting the company’s satellites with a “laser link” system to help drive down latency and improve the system's global coverage.
Brashears also said Starlink’s laser system was able to connect two satellites over 5,400 kilometers (3,355 miles) apart. The link was so long “it cut down through the atmosphere, all the way down to 30 kilometers above the surface of the Earth,” he said, before the connection broke.

“Another really fun fact is that we held a link all the way down to 122 kilometers while we were de-orbiting a satellite,” he said. “And we were able to downstream the video.”
For the future, SpaceX plans on expanding its laser system so that it can be ported and installed on third-party satellites. The company has also explored beaming the satellite lasers directly to terminals on the Earth’s surface to deliver data. But Brashears said a “deeper study” is necessary to enable the technology.

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