Featured Image Source: Render created by @ErcXspace via Twitter
SpaceX will offer Starlink satellite broadband internet service globally to fund its Mars colonization plans. The constellation will be comprised of at least 12,000 satellites that will beam internet connection down to Starlink user terminals. Long-term customers will be helping SpaceX fund the development of a fleet of one thousand Starships to enable humans to create the first city on the Red Planet before the year 2050. You can pre-order the internet service via Starlink.com.
To date, there’s approximately 1,325 Starlink satellites in orbit providing beta service to select-customers living in rural regions in the United States and abroad. Currently, SpaceX is only capable of launching 60 satellites atop its partially reusable Falcon 9 rocket fleet. The company launches the flat satellites in a tight configuration inside the 13-meter-long by 5.2-meter-wide fairing at least twice per month. Early March, it completed three Starlink missions with previously-flown Falcon 9 boosters.
SpaceX’s next-generation launch vehicle will be capable of launching hundreds of satellites on a single mission. Starship is under development in South Texas where multiple prototypes are undergoing testing. Engineers aim to develop a fully reusable two-stage Starship consisting of a 50-meter-tall spacecraft and a powerful, 70-meter-tall Super Heavy rocket booster. The gigantic launch vehicle will be capable of deploying 400 Starlink satellites per launch! Starship will enable the company to accomplish launching 12,000 satellites at a faster rate than Falcon 9.
Image Source: SpaceX
According to Starship’s user guide, the final version of Starship will have “the capability to transport satellites, payloads, crew, and cargo to a variety of orbits and Earth, Lunar, or Martian landing sites.” SpaceX will manufacture two versions of Starship: a “Crew Configuration” and “Cargo Configuration.” Starship’s cargo configuration will be capable of deploying over 100 tons of cargo. “The standard Starship payload fairing is 9 m [meter] in outer diameter resulting in the largest usable payload volume of any current or in development launcher. The Starship payload fairing is a clamshell structure in which the payload is integrated. Once integrated, the clamshell fairing remains closed through launch up until the payload is ready to deploy,” the user guide states [pictured above]. Its payload fairing will have an extended volume option capable of accommodating payloads as long as 22 meters. No other spacecraft currently operating is that large. This feature would enable companies to deploy entire constellations of satellites to orbit in a single launch.
Featured Image Source: render created by @ErcXspace via Twitter
Author's note: Thanks for supporting TESMANIAN! Twitter: Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo
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.