SpaceX launches 54 upgraded Starlink internet satellites and nails rocket.

SpaceX launched the first batch of a new generation of Starlink satellites into orbit early Wednesday (Dec. 28) and nailed a rocket landing at sea to mark a record 60th flight of the year.

A Falcon 9 rocket topped with 54 upgraded Starlink internet satellites — the first generation 2 (Gen2) versions of the SpaceX fleet — lit up the predawn sky with a smooth launch at 4:34 a.m. EST (0934 GMT) from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. 

Key Points

  • Starlink v2.0 satellites have several different configurations depending on the launch vehicle.
  • It was assumed that the new satellites would be launched by Starship initially.
  • Hence, the size and mass should be several times larger than those of previous versions- 2000 kg against 260 and 295 kg in versions 1.0 and 1.5.
  • However, SpaceX’s super-heavy rocket is a bit delayed, and now, Starlink v2.0 is carried by the good old Falcon 9.
  • The mass of such satellites is 303 kg, and the dimensions are almost the same as in v.15.
  • The main difference of Starlink v2.0 is a larger antenna and increased bandwidth of each satellite.
  • The v1.5 devices have a laser communication system between satellites and can communicate directly with ordinary mobile terminals.
  • SpaceX currently has 3,604 operational Starlink Satellites in orbit.
  • The planned total number of satellites reaches 12,000 with the possibility of further expansion to 42,000.

Source: www.space.com


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