Today, September 26, SpaceX’s Starlink division shared a photograph of a Starlink satellite stack and gave a first close-up look of the “space laser” hardware that is installed on the newest fleet of Starlink V2 Mini satellites. “Our next generation Starlink optical space lasers (pew pew!) were launched to orbit on Monday,” the company shared (pictured above). Yesterday, SpaceX launched a fleet of 21 Starlink V2 Mini satellites to Low Earth Orbit (LEO), as reported by TESMANIAN.
The ‘space laser’ feature, formally called Optical Intersatellite Links, is designed for satellites to communicate in orbit to provide faster data transfer directly from one-satellite-to-the-other without the need of each satellite receiving data directly from a local Starlink Gateway ground station on Earth. Light travels faster in the vacuum of space than through fiber-optic cables underground making Starlink internet significantly faster than traditional internet infrastructures. “With more than 8,000 space lasers across the constellation, Starlink satellites are able to connect thousands of kilometers apart, beyond the view of ground stations, and maintain pointing accuracy to enable data transfer up to 100 Gbps [Gigabits per second] on each link,” shared Starlink representatives via X. “Starlink’s laser mesh network allows us to provide truly global coverage and serve those in the most remote locations on Earth, including maritime and aviation customers.”
Recently, SpaceX also shared a rare view of the Starlink satellites being deployed by Falcon 9’s upper-stage (video is linked below). Engineers have upgraded the satellites to make them less reflective to ground-based astronomers. “Developed in-house, the dielectric mirrors on the surface of the satellites and extremely dark black paint for angled surfaces or those not conducive to mirror adhesion help absorb and redirect light away from the ground,” shared the company. “We firmly believe in the importance of protecting the night sky for all to enjoy, which is why the Starlink team has been working with leading astronomers around the world to reduce satellite brightness.”
Developed in-house, the dielectric mirrors on the surface of the satellites and extremely dark black paint for angled surfaces or those not conducive to mirror adhesion help absorb and redirect light away from the ground https://t.co/BXmfpIG495— Starlink (@Starlink) September 16, 2023
As of today, SpaceX operates approximately 4,827 Starlink satellites in LEO which provide high-speed internet service to over 2 Million subscribers across 60 countries. The company is launching Starlink missions on a weekly basis to rapidly build a more reliable broadband satellite network that will be capable of serving millions of more customers globally. Since 2019, Starlink has demonstrated it is a reliable internet service that has been useful in remote regions where internet was previously completely unavailable, like the Amazon forest in South America and regions across Canada and Alaska. Most recently, the network started to provide service in some African countries that also did not have access to the world wide web. Starlink Internet access has provided new opportunities for students to enhance their education which will be beneficial for their future. Read more: FCC Approves SpaceX’s Third-Generation User Terminals: A Portable Laptop-Size Starlink Dish & High-Performance Model
Our next generation Starlink optical space lasers (pew pew!) were launched to orbit on Monday 🛰️🌎 pic.twitter.com/pRKlosl4vx— Starlink (@Starlink) September 26, 2023
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Featured Images Source: SpaceX Starlink.com
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.