On Sunday, June 5, SpaceX founder & chief engineer Elon Musk shared a presentation slideshow about the company's accomplishments and goals that features amazing renders of future projects. The slideshow includes a video animation that demonstrates how Starship will deploy hundreds of satellites like a PEZ candy dispenser, shown below.
Deck from SpaceX all-hands update talk I gave last week pic.twitter.com/ApsdPjjukh— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 5, 2022
A Twitter user [@RenataKonkoly] commented under the video, stating the satellite deployment mechanism looks like a PEZ dispenser. Musk saw the comment and suggested releasing a replica of it to SpaceX's online shop. "Maybe we should make an actual Starship model that dispenses pez for our merch store," he wrote in response.
Maybe we should make an actual Starship model that dispenses pez for our merch store— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 5, 2022
SpaceX is working to complete building the Starlink broadband constellation that consists of launching at least 12,000 Starlink satellites to Low Earth Orbit. SpaceX depends on Starship's success to launch the next-generation Starlink 2.0 satellites that will enable the company to provide high-speed internet access globally. The Starlink 2.0 satellites are too large and heavy to launch atop SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket, which is capable of launching 50 to 60 Starlink 1.0 satellites to LEO on a single mission. "Falcon neither has the volume nor the mass-to-orbit capability required for Starlink 2.0," Musk said. Each Starlink 2.0 satellites weighs about 1.25 tons. "So even if we shrunk the Starlink satellite down, the total up mass of Falcon is not nearly enough to do Starlink 2.0," he explained. "We need Starship to work and fly frequently or Starlink 2.0 will be stuck on the ground," Musk said. Starship will be capable of launching approximately 100 tons to Low Earth Orbit which will enable SpaceX to rapidly complete building the broadband constellation by doubling the amount of satellites it could launch on a single mission.
Starship is under development at the Starbase rocket factory in South Texas. The company is preparing to conduct the first-ever orbital flight attempt and it looks like engineers plan to test the "PEZ dispenser" deployment mechanism. SpaceX has not officially announced whether it will test it in orbit on the debut flight, however, local Boca Chica residents have captured images of the Starship SN24 prototype that features a payload door. SN24 is designed to conduct the debut orbital flight and is undergoing pre-flight testing at the launch pad. It is the first stainless-steel vehicle that features a payload door, as pictured below.
A date has not been set for the debut orbital flight test, the company is pending regulatory approval from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to launch Starship from Boca Chica Beach. The FAA is scheduled to complete an environmental assessment of the Starbase launch site by June 13th, then SpaceX will be able to apply for a Starship flight license.
The payload door on Starship 24. Possibly used to deploy Starlink satellites.— Starship Gazer (@StarshipGazer) May 10, 2022
6:22 am 5/10/22 pic.twitter.com/g6FaFsBcvf
Featured Image Source: SpaceX