Starlink: another 60 satellites in orbit and records

Starlink: another 60 satellites in orbit and records

Starlink

SpaceX has announced that it has successfully completed the launch of another 60 Starlink satellites. The company led by Elon Musk announced that yesterday a record was also broken: the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket returned to Earth for the ninth time. Meanwhile, rumors are starting to circulate about the possible use of satellites for military purposes.

Starlink: the constellation continues to grow

With yesterday's one, 22 launches were made starting from May 24, 2019. The total number of satellites launched into space are 1,325, but the satellites currently in orbit at 550 km altitude are 1,261 (64 have been deorbitated). The constellation underwent a major expansion in March with 180 new satellites. Another launch is scheduled for March 21.

Deployment of 60 Starlink satellites confirmed pic.twitter.com/AMLK4R9dMn

- SpaceX (@SpaceX) March 14, 2021



The Falcon 9 rocket consisting of two stages was used in all launches. The second (reusable) stage successfully landed (ninth time) on the "Of Course I Still Love You" drone platform stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. In addition to six Starlink launches, the booster was used for the RADARSAT constellation, the SXM-7 satellite and the Crew Dragon Demo-1 capsule. At least one more launch is planned, after which the second stage will be replaced.

Users can already subscribe to the satellite connectivity service. The expected performance is between 50 and 150 Mbps with latency between 20 and 40 milliseconds, but a speed increase of up to 300 Mbps is expected.

SpaceX recently applied for a license from the FCC to provide mobile access via terminals (antennas) installed on aircraft, ships and large vehicles, including RVs and trucks.

Source: SpaceX




What SpaceX Starlink Satellites Do and How Many Have Been Launched Into Space

On Sunday, Elon Musk's SpaceX launched another 60 Starlink satellites into orbit around the Earth. But what is the aim of the Starlink project and how many satellites has the company sent into space so far?


The goal of Starlink is to provide superfast global internet coverage with very low latency, even in rural or remote areas that may normally lack reliable connectivity.


In order to do this, the company is planning to deploy tens of thousands of mass-produced broadband satellites in low Earth orbit, creating a 'mega-constellation' that will communicate with receivers on the ground.


Traditional internet satellites struggle to provide fast coverage because many are in very high geostationary orbits—around 22,000 miles above the Earth's equator. This means latency is high—or in other words, data takes a relatively long time to travel between the surface and back.


Starlink satellites are being deployed around 60 times closer to Earth than traditional satellites. SpaceX says this results in lower latency and the 'the ability to support services typically not possible with traditional satellite internet.'


SpaceX has received regulatory approval from the Federal Communications Commission to deploy up to 12,000 satellites, and is planning to launch around 30,000 more.


The company's initial constellation will consist of 1,440 satellites, which they hope will provide 'near-global coverage of the populated world in 2021.'


SpaceX has successfully conducted more than 20 Starlink launches to date, sending satellites into space mostly in batches of 60, with the vast majority being deployed at an orbital altitude of around 340 miles.


So far, the company has launched 1,325 Starlink satellites, although 64 of these have reentered the Earth's atmosphere leaving 1,261 in orbit. SpaceX now owns around one-third of all the active satellites in orbit above the Earth.


Each satellite weighs around 570 pounds, according to the company. They measure about the same size as a table, Sky & Telescope magazine reported.


Starlink is currently delivering initial beta services in some parts of the world, including the United States, with the company claiming that users can currently expect to see data speeds between 50 to 150 megabytes per second and latency from 20 to 40 milliseconds in most locations over the next several months.


The company said data speed and latency will 'improve dramatically' as more satellites are launched and more ground stations are installed.


The project has received criticism from some in the astronomical community who say that the satellites could have a negative impact on scientific observations, while adding more objects to the already crammed orbital environment.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from space launch complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center, Florida on March 30, 2017. BRUCE WEAVER/AFP via Getty Images
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