SpaceX has launched two demo satellites, called Tintin, as the first part of its new global satellite Internet called Starlink. But how do they work and where did the name “Tintin” come from?
Most likely, it’s a reference to a comic called The Adventures of Tintin. These are a series of 24 comic albums by cartoonist Georges Remi, who wrote under the name Herme. They were incredibly popular comics and had been published in more than 70 languages by 2007. The hero, Tintin, is a Belgian reporter helped by his dog Snowy. His adventures often include political mysteries, science fiction stories, and fantasy, with slapstick humor. In 2011, a movie was made about Tintin. Two Tintin issues even depicted a lunar mission 10 years before Apollo XI called “Explorers on the Moon.”
The launch of the demo satellites by SpaceX was a big success. They were deployed and are already communicating to Earth stations.
Starlink is an ambitious plan by SpaceX to launch up to 12,000 satellites into space and create a high-speed, global Internet for the entire world. Starlink is the current name for this plan, trademarked by SpaceX in late August 2017. The entire project could be up and running by 2024, if the current timeline holds.