SpaceX’s Redmond Office/Image Source: Google Maps
SpaceX is deploying the ‘world’s most advanced’ satellite internet constellation to serve rural and remote communities globally. The Starlink constellation will have over 12,000 satellites in space, orbiting our planet as each send broadband connection to user terminals on Earth. Starlink satellites are relatively small compared to other satellites in orbit. To date, the company operates approximately 1,443 satellites in low Earth orbit, ten of those are operating in Polar orbit to serve Alaska.
Starlink satellites and equipment are manufactured at a facility in Redmond, Washington State. According to a real estate market report from Kidder Mathews, the largest independent commercial real estate firm on the West Coast (report first-found by GeekWire), SpaceX plans to expand its Starlink manufacturing facility in Washington State. The company is leasing 124,907-square-foot building that is undergoing construction east of Seattle, in Redmond Ridge Business Park, which is about a block away from the main office. The building is set to complete construction by Autumn this year. At the Redmond facility, engineers manufacture at least 120 Starlink satellites per month, according to SpaceX’s Vice President of Starlink and Sales, Jonathan Hofeller, who shared SpaceX is capable of manufacturing 6 satellites per day. The satellites are a flat-panel about the size of an office desk, weigh around 260 kilograms, and feature a single solar array, that is approximately 3 meters wide and 12 meters long. The satellites are launched to orbit in batches of 60 atop previously-flown Falcon 9 rockets.
The Redmond facility expansion news comes after SpaceX announced in a job listing that it plans to setup a Starlink manufacturing facility in Austin, Texas. “To keep up with global demand, SpaceX is breaking ground on a new, state of the art manufacturing facility in Austin, TX,” the company said in new job listings posted on its website in March. the Austin Starlink factory will be for “high volume manufacturing,” to make “millions of consumer facing devices.” Likely where the Starlink Kit could be produced mass. The kit features a phased array dish antenna, Wi-Fi router device, alongside with mounting and power equipment to connect to the satellite network.
SpaceX anticipates to have at least 5 million Starlink users in the United States, according to a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) filing in which SpaceX requests the regulatory agency to increase the amount of users terminals they can operate to meet ‘extraordinary demand’. The internet service will be offered globally, SpaceX will have to rapidly meet demand from the U.S. and abroad. Currently, the company is providing beta service at a ‘first-come, first-served’ basis to a limited amount of customers per region. SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell recently said the company aims for near-global broadband coverage before this year ends. Read more about SpaceX’s Starlink division in the previous TESMANIAN article, linked below.
For now. Costs are decreasing rapidly.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 11, 2021
Featured Image Source: Google Maps
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.