SpaceX applies for space for 30,000 more Starlink satellites
The American space company headed by Elon Musk first announced the S...
SpaceX’s Starlink satellite constellation just increased in scope – massively.
The American space company headed by Elon Musk first announced the Starlink project back in 2015. In a nutshell, the company is aiming to create a satellite network to connect the world to the internet, with a specific focus on providing affordable services to those who remain unconnected. The individual satellites are equipped with technologies including ion thrusters, allowing for adjustments in position, and automatic collision avoidance, both with space debris and other spacecraft.
SpaceX has now asked permission from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations agency responsible for coordinating the assigning of satellite orbits, to launch a whopping 30,000 Starlink satellites.
That’s in addition to the 12,000 already approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the US, who facilitated this recent request to the ITU.
Of the 42,000 satellites that are now intended to make up the constellation, only 60 have been launched so far (as well as two test satellites). Launched via a single mission in May, using the firms reusable Falcon 9 launch vehicle. Three of those satellites have since become defunct, with the remaining 57 operational.
SpaceX has seen a lot of activity recently, with the reveal of the company’s interplanetary Starship and the resolution of a minor fracas with NASA regarding the Commercial Crew program to fly astronauts to the International Space Station. That’s showing no sign of abating, with the launch of a further 60 starlink satellites scheduled for tomorrow, 17 October.
The company is targeting a more frequent launch schedule following that mission, reportedly targeting up to seven launches in the first half of next year. SpaceX says it expects Starlink to offer internet service to the Northern US and Canada after six launches, and the “populated world” after 24.
The Talent War for Skilled Tech Workers
Post-pandemic, our biggest problem might be a lack of skilled tech talent. As companies move forward with their digital transformation plans, they aim to hire new staff and train their current employees. Out of 750 UK companies polled in a Studio Graphene digital report, 45% plan to hire new tech staff in the next 12 months and more than half (53%) intend to invest in training for their current workers.
Companies are realising that their survival now depends on a limited pool of qualified technology workers. Among the hardest-hit economies are those in Brazil, Indonesia, and Japan, but even the United States and the UK will experience the squeeze. “It’s pure supply and demand”, said Alan Guarino, a Korn Ferry vice-chairman. “Companies are paying more...but there’s still a shortage of high-skilled workers. Technology is the thread that runs across every aspect of business”.
Which Jobs Are In Demand?
According to a 2021 IT salary report by Robert Half Technology, the most in-demand tech jobs of the year include information security professionals, cloud architects, database administrators, systems analysts, and DevOps engineers, among others. But in those fields, it’s difficult to find hires with significant experience, multiple specialisations, and a high level of expertise. And multinationals such as Google, Apple, and IBM usually scoop them up.
Regardless of the exact role, companies need workers who can implement advanced security systems, target cloud and network vulnerabilities, document risk points and failures, and abide by new industry tech regulations. This will likely mean that companies start to take certifications like the ones pioneered by Google and Amazon, instead of insisting on four-year undergraduate degrees.
But even as coding boot camps and year-long certification programmes have ramped up to try to close the gap, smaller tech firms and startups struggle to compete with their bigger counterparts. Remote work doesn’t help matters. “Hire-from-anywhere policies will only heat up a tight candidate market”, said Ryan Sutton, a district president of technology staffing services at Robert Half. “Companies who were already having a hard time recruiting are no longer just working against local competitors, but potentially desirable companies across the country”.
How Can CIOs Solve the Crisis?
As governments try to do their part—Poland offers residency and potential citizenship to skilled tech workers, India offers broad IT, telecommunications, and cybersecurity programmes, and the Netherlands lets its foreign employees earn 30% tax-free income—company executives must take measures of their own.
Some CIOs have started looking to other countries to source expert talent. In the United States, where 80% of U.S. employers state that tech recruiting is a significant challenge, some firms are looking to Mexico, where 20% of college graduates have engineering degrees. As a result, tech companies such as Cisco and Intel have sourced labour from both the U.S. and Mexico.
To compete, here are some first steps:
- Invest in cybersecurity and cloud development training programmes
- Hire based on skills and expertise, not necessarily degrees
- Outsource to other countries with high percentages of skilled engineers and programmers
Overall, companies that broaden their search for talent and upskill their current employees will be best equipped for digital transformation. As Ritam Gandhi, founder and director of Studio Graphene, said: “Our research shows that, on the whole, UK businesses have adopted a long-term mindset [towards] technology and innovation”.