Falcon 9

Eight-Times-Flown SpaceX Falcon 9 Will Launch The Next Starlink Mission On Friday, All Satellites Are Equipped With Inter-satellite Communication Lasers

Eight-Times-Flown SpaceX Falcon 9 Will Launch The Next Starlink Mission On Friday, All Satellites Are Equipped With Inter-satellite Communication Lasers

Featured Image: SpaceX Falcon 9 / A rendered SpaceX Starlink satellite. Source: @ErcXspace via Twitter

Just a day after launching its fifth crewed mission, Crew-3, to the International Space Station (ISS), SpaceX is ready to launch the next Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The company targets to launch the Starlink Group 4-1 mission on Friday, November 10. “[…] Falcon 9 completed a static fire test this morning ahead of tomorrow’s targeted launch of 53 Starlink satellites to orbit. Weather is 60% favorable for liftoff,” SpaceX announced on Thursday morning. An eight-times-flown Falcon 9 rocket will lift off at 7:31 EST from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station's Space Launch Complex-40 (SLC-40) [date is subject to change]. 11/12/2021 UPDATE: SpaceX now targets to launch on Saturday, November 13. "Standing down from today’s launch due to weather. Forecast improves to 80% favorable for tomorrow’s launch opportunity at 7:19 a.m. EST," the company announced.


The Falcon 9 first-stage booster that will be reused during the Starlink Group 4-1 mission is identified as B1058-9; It previously supported eight missions and is ready to conduct its ninth flight. B1058-9 first conducted SpaceX’s Demo-2 mission in 2020 that launched a pair of NASA astronauts from American soil for the first time in roughly a decade. It also conducted the ANASIS-II mission for South Korea, the Transporter-1 rideshare mission, and SpaceX’s 21st Commercial Resupply Services mission to ISS, as well as four Starlink missions. Engineers aim to reuse each Falcon 9 booster in its reusable fleet at least ten times to decrease the cost of spaceflight.

The Starlink Group 4-1 mission will be the first to launch Starlink satellites on orbital Shell number 4, which will be comprised of 72 orbital planes with 22 satellites in each plane; This shell is currently being deployed alongside Shell 2, Shell 1 is near complete. Shell 4 will have a total of 1,584 satellites operating in an inclination of 53.2° Low Earth Orbit (LEO) at an altitude of 540-kilometers. This upcoming mission will increase the number of operational Starlink satellites in LEO to approximately 1,850. Overall, the Starlink constellation could have over 20,000 internet-beaming satellites to blanket the world with high-speed internet access.

All 53 Starlink satellites set to launch during the Group 4-1 mission are equipped with inter-satellite communication laser links which enable the satellites to communicate with each other for a much faster data transfer rate. Lasers will enable SpaceX to provide low-latency, high-speed broadband internet because light travels faster in the vacuum of space than through fiber-optic cables used by traditional internet infrastructures. SpaceX officials previously said that once many satellites with lasers are in orbit, the constellation will not require too many ground stations on Earth. Ground stations are connected to the internet’s backbone comprised of data centers from where the satellites receive information to transmit to the user. There will be no need for most satellites equipped with lasers to constantly communicate with ground stations on Earth because they will relay information to each other. This week the company released a new user Starlink antenna and Wi-Fi router, read more in the previous TESMANIAN article, linked below. Visit Starlink.com for official information.



Featured Image Source: Created by @ErcXspace via Twitter

About the Author

Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo

Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo

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.

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