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Musk’s SpaceX to Set Up Starlink Terminals in Disaster-struck Tonga

UTC by Sanaa Sharma · 3 min read
Musk’s SpaceX to Set Up Starlink Terminals in Disaster-struck Tonga
Photo: Unsplash

According to Fiji’s Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, a SpaceX team has recently landed in Fiji to re-establish a Starlink gateway station for the revival of the internet.

The world’s richest man Elon Musk, with his SpaceX team of engineers, has landed in Fiji to revive the internet connectivity in Tonga, a Polynesian kingdom of over a hundred South Pacific Islands.

Elon Musk’s satellite internet project is assisting in the revival of connectivity and the project is currently under process. A catastrophic volcanic eruption in mid-January sabotaged an undersea telecommunication cable, which, according to researchers and experts, will take more than a month to fix.

National Party MP Dr. Shane Reti authored a letter to Elon Musk, citing the troubles faced in the country, and sought his help in providing his Starlink satellite technology to the Pacific Country. This particular technology utilizes satellites to enable the internet from extremely remote establishments.

According to Fiji’s Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, a SpaceX team has recently landed in Fiji to re-establish a Starlink gateway station for the revival of the internet.

On January 21st, Elon Musk tweeted as a reply to Reuters headlines on the condition of connectivity in Tonga, asking people from the kingdom if they would want Starlink Terminals set up in Tonga.

The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcanic eruption proved to be devastating for the natives. The eruption, which was followed by a gigantic Tsunami, destroyed every single house on one of Tonga’s small outer islands. As the communication lines deteriorated with the tearing off of the undersea cable, people had little hope of the internet being restored anytime soon. The eruption of the volcano caused the death of at least three people. Presently, around 105,000 people are living in Tonga.

As of now, the absolute timeline of Musk’s company SpaceX is not yet determined, even though the Fijian Broadcasting Corporation explained that the engineers would manage a ground station in Fiji for the next 6 months.

While SpaceX did not directly make a statement on the latest project in Tonga, the Prime Minister’s Office and state telecom Tonga Communication Corporation were also unreachable by both phone and mail. A ship that specializes in restoring crucial communications linking Tonga through cables has reached the archipelago, two weeks following the catastrophe. According to Refinitiv Eikon data, the ship left Papua New Guinea on Jan 20th and will work towards fixing the severed subsea cable.

Even the slightest help from companies and governments will help the people of Tonga survive the aftermath of the disaster. Any up-gradation from the present situation is good news for the people who have toiled through the tough phase of a complete blackout.

On the brighter side, telephone links were beginning to be set up in Tonga, allowing people to contact their relatives and friends abroad. However, rejuvenating the whole internet connectivity of the region will take much more time.

News, Technology News
Sanaa Sharma
Author Sanaa Sharma

Sanaa is a chemistry major and a Blockchain enthusiast. As a science student, her research skills enable her to understand the intricacies of Financial Markets. She believes that Blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionize every industry in the world.

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