The project is moving ahead at a considerable pace, with aims to have the first internet access provided by 2021. It may take until November 2027 to get all of the satellites required for the global network launched and into place, but a basic version of the service may be possible with around 1,000 satellites. Within the U.S., some version of the service could be available with just 400 satellites in place.
Naturally, a project of this magnitude requires a huge logistical undertaking and a lot of knowledge from a lot of different sectors. And you can see the takeoff of interest in the Starlink project within SpaceX by analyzing the company’s hiring practices.
According to a new analysis by technology journalist Joshua Fruhlinger at statistics site Thinknum, the number of listings for positions at SpaceX including the term “Starlink” has increased rapidly in the last nine months:
SpaceX job listings containing “Starlink”
At its lowest point between July and October last year, SpaceX was searching for only one employee for a job listing which directly mentioned Starlink. But since then the company has been on a hiring spree for the project, with nearly 30 separate listings mentioning Starlink running concurrently in recent months.
Another way of looking at this trend is analyzing the number of listings which mention either Starklink specifically or the more generic term “satellite.” A similar pattern emerges here, with a large growth in job postings related to the topic since October last year:
SpaceX job postings containing “Starlink” and “Satellite”
As you might expect, there are many more job postings mentioning satellites generally than Starlink specifically, although many of these postings are likely for jobs related to the Starlink project.
“In total,” Fruhlinger writes, “SpaceX has opened up 61 job titles across 571 individual job postings for Starlink since September 2018.”
The Starlink project is not without its critics, however. In particular, astronomers have raised concerns that the satellites could interfere with vital telescope data.