The Constellation of Elon Musk’s Starlink and Our Evolving “Cyber Cocoon”

Right now, over 7,702 satellites are orchestrating a silent dance around our planet. More than half of this celestial ensemble — as of August 8, specifically 4,519 — belong to Elon Musk’s Starlink project. 

Starlink is a constellation of satellites operated by SpaceX that offer broadband internet service to over 60 countries. Starting in 2019, SpaceX has sent nearly 5,000 Starlink satellites into low earth orbit, solidifying a new wave of privatized digital infrastructure. In total, they plan to send at least 12,000 satellites, with the possibility of expanding to 40,000 in the future. 

A string of Starlink satellites seen from the Netherlands in May 2019. Credit: Reuters / NYTimes

While these satellites paint luminous trails across the night sky, closer to home, our installation “Cyber Cocoon” from Beyond the Light surfaces these connections, uniting the artful depiction of solar phenomena with the tangible pulse of satellite infrastructure. Beyond the Light, which is an ARTECHOUSE Studio Original developed alongside NASA scientists, explores the progress of human innovation through the lens of light.

“Cyber Cocoon” delves deep into the realms of heliophysics, visualizing key technical infrastructures, including airlines, power, satellites and submarine communication cables, and how the Sun could impact them in the event of another coronal mass ejection

“Cyber Cocoon” by ARTECHOUSE Studio at ARTECHOUSE NYC. The third screen from the left visualizes satellite data.

Visualizing data on all of the satellites in earth’s orbit, “Cyber Cocoon” presents an easy way to comprehend the majority-presence of Starlink. The Starlink satelite orbits are indicated with an orange line, with all other satellites are blue, green and yellow:

Satellite orbit data rendered from “Cyber Cocoon” by ARTECHOUSE Studio

This vast expansion of privatized satellite service has already sparked conversation and geopolitical debate, but is no doubt an indicator of what will become a growing trend. Regardless of your opinion on Starlink, it, like Beyond the Light, is demonstrative of how we as a society will continue to push forward and into the furthest reaches of possibility.

Learn more about Beyond the Light at ARTECHOUSE NYC and ARTECHOUSE DC.

Learn more about Starlink.