It used to be if you were in the market for a chunk of Planet Earth to exploit, you could get your literal chequebook out, and some Napoleon or other would sort you with a prime slice of somebody else's homeland. After all, that's how half of the USA was claimed, and if you were after Ireland, you didn't even need the cheque, someone might just give it to you. Gratis, no questions asked. In the modern world, we naturally frown on that kind of thing, and besides, there really isn't any land left to snap up. These days, backbone infrastructure is a better bet, but some people just haven't lost that acquisitive frame of mind. Enter Elon Musk, who may well be making a play for the infrastructure of nations, but for the moment has contented himself with grabbing a huge chunk of Low Earth Orbit, the most useful area of space over our heads.
He isn't the first to try this, and won't be the last, but he's definitely the most ambitious and brazen, and the only one with his own pet space program to help him on his way. Today we're discussing Starlink, because it's appeared in the sky over the United Kingdom, and because the time to discuss it is before it becomes a de facto presence in all of our lives, and our skies, and not after.
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