From the Cape Canaveral launch base in Florida, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off on Wednesday. She carried 54 Starlink satellites which has been successfully deployed for the eponymous constellation in low orbit.
SpaceX highlights first launch of modernized Starlink network. ” With our new license we are now able to deploy satellites in new orbits that will add even more capacity to the network. “
Thus, Elon Musk’s group boasts the ability to welcome more customers and provide faster Internet access, especially in the areas where there are currently the most subscribers. Recently, Starlink passed the milestone of one million subscribers worldwide.
After partial FCC approval
Earlier this month, SpaceX got the go-ahead from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to deploy 7,500 second-generation Starlink satellites; knowing that the request was for almost 30,000 satellites.
The 7,500 Starlink Gen2 satellites will be able to operate at altitudes of 525, 530 and 535 km. They have a more powerful phased array antenna that extends over approximately 25 m². Their mass is 1,250 kg, five to four times that of the first generation of Starlink satellites (V1.0 and V1.5).
In addition to providing an answer to congestion problems and to manage higher traffic, Starlink Gen2 satellites should allow (reduced) connectivity directly from smartphones without going through a receiving satellite dish.
Not necessarily already Starlink Gen2 satellites
SpaceX is providing few details about the Starlink satellites launched yesterday. They would be the same size as Starlink satellites previously deployed with the Falcon 9, while Starlink Gen2 satellites were originally planned for launch with the future Starship rocket. However, a smaller version was on the way.
To astronomer Jonathan McDowellthe recently launched Starlink satellites are just that V1.5 satellites that will eventually be placed in orbit around a group of Starlink V2 satellites (or Gen2). It also counts 3,666 Starlink satellites launched by SpaceX. Currently, 3,374 are in orbit and 3,335 are in operation.
Regardless of the launchers and the type of mission, it should be noted that this was 60e SpaceX mission only for this year 2022. A truly impressive pace.