SpaceX is preparing to launch the thirteenth fleet of Starlink satellites

by Evelyn Arevalo September 13, 2020

SpaceX is preparing to launch the thirteenth fleet of Starlink satellites

Featured Image Source: SpaceX

SpaceX is building the Starlink satellite constellation in low Earth orbit to deliver low-latency, broadband internet globally. There are around 708 internet-beaming satellites currently in orbit, out of the 4,409 satellites that will initially comprise the Starlink network. The company is currently assessing the satellite’s performance. Employees received early access to private beta test the network. Starlink users receive internet from space via 19-inch dish terminals and Wi-Fi router. Company officials state the network will be easy to set up at home just ‘plug-in and point at sky.’

According to a letter SpaceX submitted to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on September 2nd, the satellites are capable of beaming low-latency internet of under 30 milliseconds (ms). – “…Results from beta initial tests have shown both low-latency below 30 ms [milliseconds] and download speeds greater than 100 Mbps [megabits per second],” SpaceX wrote to the FCC. “As it works through these beta tests, SpaceX continues to add features to unlock the full capability of the satellites and user equipment. SpaceX continues its aggressive launch schedule, and this modification is a crucial component in closing the digital divide, including service to Polar Regions.”

SpaceX is preparing to launch the thirteenth fleet of 60 satellites next week. The mission is scheduled for Thursday, September 17th. A twice flown Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Starlink-13 mission at 2:17 p.m. EDT. from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The Falcon 9’s first-stage booster, production number B1058, will launch the upcoming Starlink mission; It previously propelled Crew Dragon to orbit during SpaceX’s first crewed flight to the International Space Station on May 30th. B1058 also deployed South Korea’s ANASIS-II communications satellite on July 30th.



The booster will attempt to land a third time on the autonomous Just Read The Instructions (JRTI) drone ship which will be waiting around 633-kilometers downrange in the Atlantic Ocean. JRTI drone ship departed this morning from the port and is headed to its landing zone. Recovering Falcon 9 boosters significantly reduces the cost of spaceflight. SpaceX aims to reuse a particular first-stage booster 10 times. To achieve the reusability goal, the previously flown rockets are expected to be reused on future Starlink dedicated missions.



SpaceX plans to launch 120 internet-beaming satellites per month. The company told the FCC it "is manufacturing 120 Starlink satellites each month, with spectrum efficient phased array antennas and safe space operations.” A Falcon 9 rocket’s fairing can deploy 60 satellites per launch, so, the company plans to conduct at least two Starlink dedicated missions per month, each launched to orbit by a previously flown Falcon 9 first-stage booster.

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