In a mission that broke the record for the Falcon 9 deployments in a calendar year, SpaceX launched 48 more satellites for the Starlink broadband network on Dec. 2, as well as two remote sensing satellites for BlackSky. According to SpaceX, following lifting off at 6:12 p.m. Eastern from Space Launch Complex 40 located in Cape Canaveral, Florida, all satellites correctly separated from the Falcon 9 in low Earth orbit.
After accomplishing its mission, the Falcon 9’s reusable first stage successfully landed on the drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean for the ninth time. This is SpaceX’s 27th Falcon 9 flight this year, breaking the company’s previous record of 26 established in 2020. Most of these Falcon 9 missions in 2021 will carry Starlink payloads, and SpaceX has now deployed over 1,890 satellites for the internet network as it expands globally.
However, supply chain concerns due to the epidemic have slowed the rollout of Starlink user terminals, that SpaceX has substantially subsidized to encourage usage. The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) cleared a new Starlink antenna on November 10 that SpaceX claims will be less expensive to manufacture.
As per an email from the SpaceX founder Elon Musk to workers received by SpaceNews and first published by SpaceExplored.com, SpaceX is investing “huge capital” to be able to build several million end-user terminals each year. However, those terminals will rely on the greater bandwidth provided by Starlink’s second-generation Starlink satellites, according to Musk.
The email cautioned staff that unless SpaceX increased manufacturing of Raptor engines, which power the Starship vessel the business is constructing and which Musk claims will be vital for establishing Starlink’s second-generation network, the company would face bankruptcy. He wrote, “Satellite V1 is financially poor on its own, whereas V2 is robust.”
According to the company’s website, “Starlink enables video calls, streaming, online gaming, as well as other high data rate operations that were previously not possible with satellite internet.” “While many satellite internet services are now provided by single geostationary satellites orbiting the earth at around 35,000 kilometers, Starlink is a constellation of several satellites orbiting the planet at approximately 550 kilometers and covering the whole globe.” The fact that Starlink satellites are in a low orbit means that round-trip data time between a user and a satellite – also referred to as latency – is far lower than it would be with satellites in the geostationary orbit.” Starlink customers can link to the service by buying a SpaceX router and dish and connecting via an app. In most areas, average download rates are between 100 and 200 megabits per second (Mb/s), with latency as low as 20 milliseconds. Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, announced in October that the business was in discussions with airlines to provide “low latency half gigabit communication in the air” via Starlink.