Elon Musk Will Activate SpaceX Starlink Internet in Iran Amid Ongoing Protests

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CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA – MAY 30: Spacex founder Elon Musk celebrates after the successful launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the manned Crew Dragon spacecraft at the Kennedy Space Center on May 30, 2020 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Earlier in the day NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley lifted off an inaugural flight and will be the first people since the end of the Space Shuttle program in 2011 to be launched into space from the United States.

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, announced on Friday that the company’s Starlink satellite internet service would be activated in Iran.

The announcement comes after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the United States had taken steps “to advance internet freedom and the free flow of information” to Iranians, as reported first by Interesting Engineering.

Even though Iran has been imposed sanctions, the US Treasury Department released guidelines on increasing Iranians’ access to internet services.

This comes at the heels of the death of the 22-year-old Masha Amini in the custody of Iranian authorities, which has sparked widespread protests in the country. 

Read also: Elon Musk’s Starlink Shows Impressive Airline Speeds of About 100Mbps; Is This The Best WiFi in Cosmos? 

Starlink Broadband Services for Iran

A treasury official told reporters earlier on Friday, Sept. 23 that the general license would not apply to Starlink’s commercial-grade system, which would require delivering hardware to Iran. 

Musk has previously announced SpaceX’s plan to offer Starlink broadband services, similar to the ones given to Ukraine to fend itself against Russia’s invasion. 

The Starlink constellation of satellites promises to provide worldwide internet connectivity. The technology aims to offer internet broadband access to remote, rural locations where internet connectivity is nonexistent or unstable. 

The satellite internet service technology used by Starlink has been around for a while. A satellite system essentially sends radio signals to transfer data instead of using cable technology like fiber optics. 

Starlink users on Earth receive data from the satellites in orbit after receiving signals from ground stations. Each satellite in the Starlink constellation, which consists of several satellites, weighs 573 kg and has a flat body. 

The Falcon 9 rocket from SpaceX alone has room for up to 60 satellites. 

Musk requests exceptions to the sanctions that have been put in place since the Nuclear Arms Deal was broken to provide this technology to the Iranian people.  

Using tweets from Iranians who wanted the service enabled, Musk said on Twitter that he would be looking for exceptions to the restrictions and authorization to deploy the Starlink service in Iran. This also responds to the demonstrations that have broken out against the morality police. 

Related Article: Elon Musk: Tesla AI Team Works on FSD Beta, Other EV Features, and Optimus-Coming Next Month?

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Written by Joaquin Victor Tacla

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