Space

Starlink’s Indian head quits as SpaceX returns pre-orders

Starlink’s Indian head quits as SpaceX returns pre-orders

Starlink’s lead administrator in India says he quits on Friday for personal reasons. This is a month after the nation’s government requested SpaceX to halt preselling the satellite broadband service until it gives governing authorization.

“I have moved down as Country Director and Chairman of the Board of Starlink India for personal reasons,” says Sanjay Bhargava on 4th January via a LinkedIn post.

“My last performing day was December 31, 2021. I will have no remarks for individuals and media so please respect my secrecy.”

Bhargava began the role on 1st October, when he says pre-orders in India cross the 5,000 mark, amidst a “stretch target” to have 200,000 Starlink stations active in December 2022.

However, India’s Ministry of Communications issued a statement on 26th November directing SpaceX to –
  • “Refrain from booking/rendering” Starlink services “with immediate effect”
  • This is since the firm did not have a license to operate in the nation.

In the days that go after, SpaceX seems to be still accepting $99 pre-order deposits via Starlink’s website for addresses in India.

But the site now tells prospective subscribers: “Starlink is not yet accessible in your area due to pending governing authorization. As we receive authorizations our coverage area will remain to expand. Hence, please check back for future accessibility in your area.”

In a LinkedIn message written one month ago, Bhargava says –
  • We hope to have submitted an application for an industrial license on or before 31st January 2022.
  • This is unless we hit some major barrier.

Hours before Bhargava’s announced his resignation, Reuters, TechCrunch, and others report that SpaceX sent emails to customers in India. By saying that pre-order deposits would be reimbursed until Starlink is licensed to work in the nation.

SpaceX has begun nearly 1,950 Starlink satellites to low Earth orbit to date, of which about 1,800 are in orbit.

The firm is allegedly planning to launch its latest batch of Starlink satellites on a Falcon 9 rocket on 6th January from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Starlink recently says that more than 750,000 people worldwide have pre-ordered its services.

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