How SpaceX Starlink broadband will envelop Earth and transform the sky

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When the call connects and I ask Angel Chavarin if I’m speaking to AWN-hell or AIN-gel, there’s a familiar pause. I can hear the faint echo of my own words finally reach the cellphone’s speaker on the other end of the line a few seconds later, and then a voice responds:  “Yep, it sure is. AIN-gel works. No one around here calls me AWN-hell except my dad.” It’s a delay I recognize from using satellite phone connections while on assignment on the Alaskan tundra and other remote areas. The signal carrying my words must travel over 22,000 miles (35,000 kilometers) to a satellite in geostationary orbit and then another 22,000 miles back to Earth to reach the person on the other end of the call.  Robert Rodriguez/CNETBut Chavarin isn’t speaking to me from a satellite phone in the Alaskan wilderness or any other end of the Earth. The 40-year-old is on a regular cellphone in the tiny Oregon community of McKenzie Bridge, about 50 miles east of Eugene, where he helps run the general store, writes fantasy novels and, until recently, looked after his father, who is at extremely high risk from COVID-19.  “It’s pretty rural. There’s not a whole lot out here,” …

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