Featured Image Source: SpaceX
SpaceX is rapidly building its Starlink broadband internet network in low Earth orbit. The aerospace company aims to offer internet service globally to fund its space program. The Starlink constellation will be composed of 12,000 internet-beaming satellites orbiting Earth. SpaceX is racing to offer internet connection. This month they deployed two batches of 60 Starlink satellites. Next week, another batch will be deployed. It will be the third mission this month, a great accomplishment for SpaceX. As of today, there are 540 Starlink satellites in low Earth orbit (includes two satellite prototypes). The company aims to rollout Starlink’s service before the year ends in Northern parts of the United States and Canada. Company officials said 800 satellites would be needed to offer “moderate” internet coverage.
SpaceX is scheduled to launch the tenth batch of Starlink satellites on Tuesday, June 23rd. A Falcon 9 rocket will liftoff at 5:58 p.m. EDT. from Lunch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, carrying around 58 Starlink satellites, alongside a pair of Black Sky satellites that will hitch a ride under the company’s SmallSat Rideshare Program. The program allows customers to book Falcon 9 rocket flights to deploy small satellites into space for a cheaper price tag by sharing Falcon 9’s fairing with a larger payload. This will be the second Rideshare mission for SpaceX, the first mission was a satellite deployment for Planet Labs which sent a trio of Earth-Imaging satellites alongside 58 Starlink satellites on June 13th.
Tuesday’s weather forecast appears 60% favorable, according to the United States Space Force's 45th Weather Squadron. A possibility of showers and thunderstorms are expected – “But westerly winds in the mid and upper levels will cause some of them and their associated anvils to move back towards the east coast,” Space Force forecasters stated.
If the launch is successful, the Starlink constellation will have almost 600 internet-beaming Starlink satellites! Earlier this month, SpaceX software engineers revealed details about Starlink satellites. They shared the satellites are getting software updates every week and are already generating 5 trillion terabytes of data daily!
SpaceX Engineer Matt Monson leads Starlink software development, he shared SpaceX uses the Linux operating system – “Each launch of 60 satellites contains more than 4,000 Linux computers,” Monson said. “The constellation has more than 30,000 Linux nodes (and more than 6,000 microcontrollers) in space right now.” Adding that SpaceX is “currently generating more than 5TB [5 trillion bytes] a day of data” for Starlink.
The founder and Chief Engineer at SpaceX Elon Musk shared in January SpaceX customers will receive Starlink’s signal via user terminals that look “like a thin, flat, round UFO on a stick.” He also said the “Starlink terminal has motors to self-adjust optimal angle to view sky.”
Starlink will offer low latency internet below 20 milliseconds (ms) –“It will be a pretty good experience because it'll be very low latency. We're targeting latency below 20 milliseconds, so somebody could play a fast-response video game at a competitive level, like that's the threshold for the latency,” Musk said in March.
Image Source: r/darkpenguin22 via Reddit
Yesterday, June 19, a Reddit user shared a photograph that reveals how SpaceX’s Starlink user terminal looks like, pictured above. The photos are from SpaceX’s ground base station at Merrillan, Wisconsin. The terminals have a label that reads ‘Property of SpaceX – Prototype.’ Musk said that setting up the Starlink network at home will be simple – “Instructions are simply: Plug in socket. Point at sky. These instructions work in either order. No training required.”
SpaceX already has approval from the Federal Communications Commission to operate 1 million user terminals to provide Starlink internet to customers in the United States. Find out when Starlink will be available in your city via SpaceX's website: STARLINK UPDATES (simply type your email address and city’s zip code to receive email updates).
About the Author
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.