SpaceX Chalks Out Starlink Gen 2 Plans In FCC Filing
Elon Musk’s SpaceX is going to enter the second generation of its global internet solution system, Starlink, said the company in a filing with the Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday. The company also plans to use its Starship rockets to deliver the satellites to orbit.
In a detailed account of its future plans, Musk’s company reported, “This Gen2 System was designed to complement the first-generation constellation SpaceX is currently deploying. While the original constellation provides unprecedented capacity for a satellite system, the demand for more broadband continues to grow unabated and the need for user connectivity has never been more important.”
The ambitious project is currently in its beta phase with around 90,000 users in 12 countries. When completed, Starlink will be able to provide seamless internet even in the most remote regions in the world, including the poles.
Starlink, which already has around 1740 satellites, plans to add another 29,988 satellites to its “constellation.” The second-gen satellites are planned to be heavier and more capable of “additional payloads in the future,” hinting at its ability to serve the internet to companies as well. For that many satellites to float harmlessly in orbit, the company has arranged for nine altitude layers, ranging from 340 kilometers to 614 kilometers above ground. Previously, the company had settled on using eight altitude layers from 328 kilometers to 614 kilometers.
The company has claimed that the satellites are kept at such an altitude that in case of any crash or loss of control, the satellites will come back into the atmosphere in just four years and disintegrate while entering.
“SpaceX is also aware of the possibility that its system could become a source of debris in the unlikely case of a collision with small debris or meteoroids that could either create jetsam or cause loss of control of the spacecraft and prevent post-mission disposal. SpaceX has continued to explore ways to make its spacecraft even more resistant to such strikes. Although the design of these protective features is still being finalized, SpaceX has improved redundancy in the power and propulsion systems.”
The company also believes that the “collision risk with large objects is considered to be zero while the spacecraft are capable of maneuvering.”
SpaceX is going to use the Superheavy rocket boosters of the Starship to launch around 400 satellites at a time. But it’s Falcon 9, capable of launching around 60 satellites, will also be at hand.” The revised orbital planes would enable single plane launch campaigns that capitalize on the ability of Starship to deliver satellites at a faster pace by not necessarily requiring a waiting period for orbital precession in a parking orbit. SpaceX could deploy satellites into their operational orbits within a matter of weeks after launch, rather than months,” added SpaceX.
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