The recent wildfires in the Washington state have destroyed over 713,000 acres of land, 181 homes, and took one life. The wildfires almost destroyed the entire town of Malden.
SpaceX has offered to help Washington’s Emergency Management Department by offering its Starlink internet free of charge to Malden and Bonney Lake, according to Geekwire.
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Starlink is SpaceX’s ambitious plan to provide high-speed broadband internet to locations where the internet is currently unavailable, unreliable, or expensive. When completed, Starlink will contain 12,000 small interconnected satellites in the low Earth Orbit (LEO) and deliver high-speed internet anywhere globally. At present, it uses upwards of 600 satellites, and these satellites are actually made at SpaceX’s Redmond facility in Washington state.
Wildfires in this area began around Labor Day. It destroyed 80% of Malden’s standing structures and burned hundreds of acres in Bonney Lake. Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, on twitter, mentioned that the company is prioritizing emergency responders and locations with no internet connectivity at all.
The state’s Emergency Management Department hinted at the possibility of using this satellite-based service during future crises on twitter –
“This is a device we could definitely utilize should we have even larger disasters, (like) a Cascadia Subduction Earthquake, where (communication) problems would be a huge hurdle.”
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