SpaceX amassed over 1 million Starlink internet service subscribers globally, the company announced this month. As of today, there’s approximately 3,321 Starlink satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) out of 4,408 first-generation satellites that are approved to be deployed. SpaceX is ready to expand its Starlink internet coverage by launching its upgraded second-generation Starlink satellites.
Starlink now has more than 1,000,000 active subscribers – thank you to all customers and members of the Starlink team who contributed to this milestone ❤️💫🌎 https://t.co/5suNxFvtEH pic.twitter.com/E1ojYarcEA— SpaceX (@SpaceX) December 19, 2022
On December 1st, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) gave SpaceX authorization to launch up to 7,500 second-generation (Gen2) Starlink satellites to LEO. These satellites are part of the Starlink Gen2 system designed to increase the broadband constellation’s capabilities and provide robust coverage with enhanced features, including: an inter-satellite laser-link communications system, and antennas capable of beaming data directly to smartphones. The latter is a collaborative effort between SpaceX and T-Mobile to provide satellite-to-cellular voice and SMS services in 2023.
SpaceX may launch the first batch of second-generation Starlink satellites before 2022 ends, according to a new FCC filing. “SpaceX currently anticipates that it will begin launching Gen2 satellites before the end of December 2022,” stated SpaceX. In the filing, the company requests a Special Temporary Authority (STA) to begin beaming Gen2 Starlink satellite signals directly to user terminals on Earth for at least 60 days. “Granting this STA would serve the public interest by allowing users across America, especially those in underserved or unserved areas, to access the increased capacity for low-latency broadband services from SpaceX’s upgraded, next-generation NGSO [non-geostationary orbit] system as soon as its satellites are deployed,” wrote SpaceX representatives to the FCC, noting that it is still pending approval to beam Gen2 signals long-term. “[...] For the foregoing reasons, the Commission should find that these temporary operations while SpaceX Services’ application is being processed would serve the public interest and grantan STA structured to begin on the Gen2 launch date and remain in force for up to 60 days thereafter,” they wrote. Once operational, the Gen2 satellites will help alleviate potential network congestion and increase the internet’s speed, now that SpaceX provides internet to over one million customers globally.
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Featured Image Source: SpaceX
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.