Elon Musk recently organized a presentation in front of all SpaceX staff during which he addressed various topics. In particular, he unveiled how the Starship rocket would deploy the next Starlink satellites into orbit, and the images are worthy of a science fiction film.
Future Starlink satellites will be bigger
Indeed, the future iteration of Starlink satellites, the 2.0, will be much larger than those currently in low orbit. The devices will be nearly 7 meters long and weigh more than a ton. Due to their size, they will not be able to be transported to orbit by the Falcon 9, SpaceX’s reusable and very reliable launcher, the only one in operation for the moment.
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” Falcon has neither the volume nor the mass [pour la] orbit capacity required for Starlink 2.0. So even if we scaled down the Starlink satellite, Falcon’s total mass is nowhere near enough for Starlink 2.0 Musk told Everyday Astronaut, a popular YouTube show. Nevertheless, the firm plans to transport them with Starship, its next ultra-heavy rocket, so the objective is, in the long term, to travel between the Earth and the Moon and the Earth and Mars.
So you will have to be patient. The Starship prototype hasn’t taken off in over a year and has suffered numerous delays. Now, SpaceX teams are preparing and testing the company’s facilities in Boca Chica, Texas for an upcoming orbital flight test. The company must still wait for authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the federal agency in charge of regulations and controls concerning civil aviation; it should be delivered during the month of June, reports Gizmodo.
Starlink has nearly 500,000 users
SpaceX needs Starship” works and flies frequently, otherwise Starlink will be stuck on the ground “said Elon Musk. During his presentation, the CEO released a concept video showing how the rocket will deploy the next-generation satellites. Coming out of the rocket in pairs, the satellites look like Pez candies coming out of the dispenser. By the way, a Starship rocket prototype is already equipped with deployment slots.
Deck from SpaceX all-hands update talk I gave last week pic.twitter.com/ApsdPjjukh
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 5, 2022
Currently, the Starlink constellation has more than 2,300 satellites in low orbit, but SpaceX hopes, ideally, to send nearly 42,000 into space. The firm’s objective is to provide high-speed Internet coverage in the most remote areas of the world. The service now has nearly 500,000 users from 32 different countries.
SpaceX’s future factories
During his presentation, Musk also unveiled concept images of two future SpaceX factories, one at existing Starbase facilities in Boca Chica, Texas, and the other in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Their purpose will be primarily to manage the operations of Starship, for which the CEO has very big plans. In December, he also unveiled the impressive future launch pad for the rocket and its launcher, Super Heavy. In addition, Starship has been chosen by NASA to be the lander of the Artemis program: it will transport astronauts to the lunar ground.
In 2022, SpaceX is operating launches at an unprecedented rate with 22 take-offs since the start of the year. Recently, the valuation of SpaceX reached 125 billion dollars, against 100 billion in 2021.