John Jay kept hitting refresh on his browser, but no luck, he made sure his power was on, it was, then finally he cleared off the cats sunbathing in his Starlink receiver dish in the backyard, but still, nothing. Just a dead signal. All he wanted was to finishing watching the once in a lifetime Men’s World Cup final between the United States of North America and the Brazilian Union.
His internet connection dropped right as the two top teams in the world were about to start a tense penalty shootout. John has told us, “It was unbelievable, Giovanni Rayna was about to strike the ball, then all the sudden, click, total darkness on the screen…I was frantic, I tried everything to restore my connection, I even tried the old Nintendo blow, and let’s just forget about the money I wagered.”
Sadly, John Jay was not alone, the entire planet wide customer base suffered an instantaneous internet blackout.
As Starlink has grown in popularity and usage, its approximately 1.76 billion users, residents spanning from New York to Geneva, from Cape Town and Brisbane all lost internet connectivity at the same exact moment. If you listened closely enough an audible gasp was heard around the world.
The initial suspects were some kind of widespread equipment failure, technical problems with the satellites ion thrusters, human error at headquarters, programming glitches, and at worst the drop in coverage was thought to be a result of malicious hacking. However, as numerous amateur astronomers from across the globe first hinted, the reason for the loss of internet connection was much more shocking.
Every SpaceX Starlink satellite has disappeared from the night sky. Every, single, satellite. Over 4,000 in total, although the exact number is never specified by the company.
MARK GARLICK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Neighborhood astronomers were the first to notice their absence, but the information has been confirmed by official government and private observatories just this morning. It’s easy to confirm since the rings of geosynchronous and low earth orbiting units are normally very conspicuous in the heavens. Astronomers of all types also pointed out that the disappearance seems to be without a trace, no debris, no change in orbit that perhaps flung them further from earth orbit and out of sight, and no automated distress or service signals of any kind. They all agree, the man made constellations have simply have vanished.
In their initial response to the chaos SpaceX and Starlink engineers did confirm the massive satellite disappearing act, and they stated little about the possible reason, natural event or otherwise, that could cause such a happening.
Lead engineer and spokesperson MK Finnegan responded, “we’re investigating all possibilities at this moment, we have no further information, other than to say we are being assisted by national governments, the United Nations, and various international space policing organizations. To remedy the situation we are launching cadences of replacement satellites as we speak. Customers can expect full restoration of connectivity and service within the week, and please, please bear with us as we navigate these difficult times.”
CEO Musk, as he is known to do, tweeted about the disaster, “wtf, who took my sats? …. Was it you Jeff?” Musk followed up with, “jk Jeffy, I know it don’t think it was anyone from this planet.”
Amazon has confirmed that its own satellite provider service, Kuiper, has not been affected, and that the company can accountant for all of its satellites in space. No losses. In addition it has been whispered that Bezos has personally contacted his counterpart to affirm his support and of course deny he or his company had anything to do with the galactic theft.
About an hour after his first online response, Musk tweeted again, “Im heading up there personally to lead the investigation.”
And so he has, riding aboard the latest Falcon 11 Heavy rocket, Musk is currently en route to Armstrong Prime, the capital city of the Moon, and location of the latest and largest Gigafactory in the solar system, where he believes some clues can found.
The mystery only deepens when you consider the incredible circumstances. And of course the incredible resources and logistics that it would require for someone, some group, or something, to instantly disappear the fast moving and widely scattered satellites circling the earth, all at the same time. Frankly it seems impossible.
Theories abound as to what happened. A handful of astrophysicists, as well as our anonymous source within Starlink, have floated the idea of extraterrestrial intelligence being involved. Even suggesting the possibility beings from another dimension having nudged the satellites into their own 4D reality.
The United States of North America, and its Presidentor, along with almost every single government on Earth have dismissed such notions, and have instead begun to eye each other with great suspicion. The United Nations is said to being discussing the matter in the Security Council at this very moment. The complete lack of details surrounding the event has people and government officials on edge. This massive disappearance is not only an economic catastrophe, it’s also a planetary security issue. As far as the economics, the material involved and built into the satellite clusters are said to be worth trillions, not only in time and money but in natural resources like krypton, lithium, gold, and platinum. On the security front, some larger nations have questioned smaller, newer national entrants into the space race that may be keen on acquiring the needed resources and technology by any means necessary. Even environmental groups are being investigated as many have long sought to return the night sky to its original, natural darkness, uncluttered by bright strings of manmade objects.
Those scientists who believe a natural phenomena is to blame, have thrown out same vague ideas about worm holes, time rifts, general quantum distortions, and solar flares, but none of the explanations pin down all the details or cover every aspect of the abrupt satellite losses.
In a since deleted tweet, Musk himself seemed to be in the camp with our anonymous leak, posting, “It is possible the Starlink constellations have been commandeered, stolen, recycled if you will, into a Dyson sphere, and I am looking at you Proxima Centauri.”
This line of thinking may explain the absolutely astonishing feat. Per a representative at NASA, who has since also gone silent, there is some evidence that points to Proxima, as the James Webb Telescope has observed odd fluctuations in light intensity around the binary stars Of Proxima A and Proxima B.
Of course we have yet to confirm much about that other star system, and life there is thought unlikely, let alone life so advanced they are capable of such an act. Critics of the theory have been quick to question why, if intelligences do indeed exist there, would they need to steal anything from us if they are advanced enough to reach our planet. Critics of those critics have posited the idea of civilizational sabotage. Humanity has begun in earnest to establish a presence in space, and as we’ve expanded quicker and quicker, faster than many on Earth thought possible, maybe some jealous intergalactic neighbors are trying to slow us down.
Whatever the case may be, John Jay and nearly 1 billion other people across the planet had to watch a replay of the World Cup shootout that ultimately saw North America fall to Brazil 4-3 on penalty kicks after a tight 1-1 Draw in regulation. Hopefully the next World Cup will be uninterrupted, and John can finally witness an American Men’s victory, but until then people just want to get back online.
Further fallout from the disruption has been limited, as the American East Coast and several other regions of the world very nearly faced critical infrastructure problems and general chaos as the internet failed, but luckily they had engaged hard wired and wireless backup systems. Local municipalities in conjunction with Starlink land servers, and other local land based internet providers allowed all civic services, police, fire, and hospitals to stay online without loss of coverage or operational capacity. So, as bad as the situation is in terms of entertainment and general internet access, it did not escalate to a larger tragedy.
Starlink, Musk, and USNA Space Force officials are expected to give a joint telepathic press conference tomorrow evening to discuss the events and any of the latest details.
For now, it’s back to fiberoptic, broadband, and 8g wireless connections. The pain is palpable amongst Starlink users and American Soccer fans alike. And of course, their cats, who no longer find the receiver dishes a warm resting spot as the gentle heat from teraflop connectivity is no more.
Aaron Taylor @Tippen22