SpaceX will launch the next Starlink fleet this week while engineers focus on protecting the network from Russian cyberattacks

SpaceX will launch the next Starlink fleet this week while engineers focus on protecting the network from Russian cyberattacks

SpaceX’s 2022 launch manifest has 52 missions –the most planned annual launches to date. The company completed 26 launches in 2020 and a record-breaking 31 missions in 2021. To achieve launching all 52 launches this year, SpaceX could conduct rocket flights at an average rate of one per week. It has already launched nine Falcon 9 missions in the first nine weeks of 2022. The impressive increased launch pace is possible through the company’s ability to recover and reuse orbital-class rocket boosters. 

SpaceX is rapidly deploying its Starlink broadband constellation, designed to provide internet service globally with a network of at least 12,000 satellites. Starlink satellites are launched on a weekly basis to Low Earth Orbit atop previously-flown Falcon 9 boosters. To date, there are approximately 2,000 Starlink satellites in orbit. SpaceX will launch the next Starlink fleet this week, while engineers focus on protecting the network from Russian cyberattacks. A total of 48 satellites will be launched by a thrice-flown Falcon 9 on Wednesday, March 9 at 8:45 a.m. EST from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The satellites are part of Starlink Group 4-10 which is the tenth batch of internet-beaming satellites launched into orbital Shell 4, orbital parameters are detailed in the table shown below. 

The mission will take place less than a week after SpaceX conducted the Starlink Group 4-9 mission on March 3rd and as the company shifts priority to protect Starlink from potential cyber threats after SpaceX founder Elon Musk sent a truck filled with Starlink kits to Ukraine officials. The Starlink system can be useful for first responders and emergency operation teams to maintain reliable communication to help keep civilians safe amid the Russia invasion that has destroyed infrastructures and affected millions of people's lives. “Important warning: Starlink is the only non-Russian communications system still working in some parts of Ukraine, so probability of being targeted is high. Please use with caution,” wrote Musk via Twitter. “Turn on Starlink only when needed and place antenna away as far away from people as possible. Place light camouflage over antenna to avoid visual detection,” he advised. The Russians already conducted a cyberattack on the Viasat internet provider that caused internet outage in the region and many foreign companies are becoming a target, including SpaceX’s broadband network. “SpaceX reprioritized to cyber defense & overcoming signal jamming,” said Musk. "Some Starlink terminals near conflict areas were being jammed for several hours at a time. Our latest software update bypasses the jamming," he shared on March 4th. "Am curious to see what’s next!" You can watch a Live broadcast of the Starlink Group 4-10 mission in the video linked below around 15-minutes before liftoff on March 9.



Featured Image Source: SpaceX

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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