SpaceX submitted new filings to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) which revealed the company plans to add Starlink Gen2 system capabilities to Gateway stations across the United States. Starlink Gateways (ground stations) are the linking factor between the satellites in space and the internet data centers on Earth that connect to existing fiber-optic infrastructure. The company already has hundreds of Gateways built around the world which look like grouped sphere antennas, as pictured above.
The new FCC filings were submitted on December 20th a few days before the company reportedly deployed its first set of next-generation Starlink satellites on December 28th. The FCC filing was found by Nathan Owens who works as CDN Reliability Engineer at Netflix and is a Starlink customer [H/T -- Info was first-reported by TeslaNorth]. Mr. Owens shared information of SpaceX’s amendment filing on Twitter. It includes details of how many Starlink Gateways will be upgraded to support the Gen2 system Starlink satellites, and the frequencies the antennas will use. According to the documents, at least 60 of existing ground stations could undergo upgrades if approved by the Commission. Mr. Owens also created a map that pinpoints where Starlink Gateways are located around the globe - the information is linked below.
Actually, there are considerably more than 18, it appears they filled for all 59. Thanks u/feral_engineeer! pic.twitter.com/MwqhxBrkoV— Nathan Owens (@VirtuallyNathan) December 28, 2022
Map of current/future Starlink Gateways in the lower 48, colored by # of Antennas. pic.twitter.com/9mhltjObwQ— Nathan Owens (@VirtuallyNathan) December 29, 2022
The Starlink Gen2 system are SpaceX’s upgraded satellites which feature advanced inter-satellite communications laser-link technology that enable the satellites to beam information to one another in orbit without directly connecting to a ground station. This enables high-speed internet with lower latency because light travels faster in the vacuum of space than through fiber-optic cables. The Gen2 Starlink satellites will also feature antennas dedicated for satellite-to-cellular service, which is a collaboration between SpaceX and T-Mobile to beam voice and messaging services directly to smartphones without the need of additional user-end hardware.
To date, SpaceX operates approximately 3,374 Starlink satellites in Low Earth Orbit that provide internet service to over one million subscribers globally. The FCC recently authorized the company to deploy 7,500 Starlink Gen2 satellites. Read more: SpaceX Receives FCC Authorization To Launch 7,500 Next-Generation Starlink Satellites
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About the Author
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.