BOCA CHICA BEACH, TX - AUGUST 25: SpaceX founder Elon Musk during a T-Mobile and SpaceX joint event on August 25, 2022 in Boca Chica Beach, Texas. The two companies announced plans to work together to provide T-Mobile cellular service using Starlink satellites. (Photo by Michael Gonzalez/Getty Images)
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Researchers Find New Use For Starlink But Elon Musk May Not Be Pleased
Elon Musk’s Starlink aims to bring high-speed internet to every corner of the globe through its series of satellites operating in low-Earth orbit. In addition to potentially benefiting rural areas, developing nations, and travelers, researchers have discovered another area where Starlink could be useful, though Musk has refused to entertain its proposed application.
Researchers first suggested SpaceX use their Starlink satellite network for GPS; however, Musk cited the number of “low-Earth orbit communications systems” that have gone bankrupt, demanding Starlink avoids "distractions." Todd Humphreys of the University of Texas at Austin believes he found a way to turn Starlink into a satellite navigation system, but without SpaceX’s cooperation, it’s less accurate than GPS.
While the general public now has access to GPS, the system was initially designed by the U.S. military, with the Department of Defense still having a large stake in the technology and its application. Starlink has proven resistant to jamming in the ongoing Ukrainian conflict, making its use appealing as a backup in the event of another global power targeting the military’s existing satellites.