On September 15, Elon Musk's SpaceX has successfully launched another batch of 52 Starlink Internet satellites into low-earth orbit. The satellites were equipped with a laser communication system.

Elon Musk said the satellites had laser transmitters that provide communication between satellites as well as allow for Internet access from any place on Earth. Switching to laser communications can improve the speed of data transfers and help eliminate the need to have ground stations.

Currently, the Starlink satellite Internet network works according to the "user → satellite → ground station" model. To operate the network, SpaceX builds or leases ground stations.

This works well but also has its drawbacks. The communication with satellites may be slow or unstable over the oceans and in polar regions, affecting Internet speed and quality.

Number of Starlink Internet Users Exceeds 100K
SpaceX launched its beta version of the Starlink internet service in late 2020. The service provided internet access for $99 a month, not including upfront costs for shipping, terminal installation, and equipment.

Laser communication can solve this problem since it will allow transmitting a signal to ground stations that are too far from the satellite using the neighboring satellites as repeaters.

The company says that all future Starlink satellites will be able to transmit signals through its global satellite network using laser links.