Space X Launches Another Bundle of Starlink Internet Satellites

SpaceX launched 56 additional Starlink internet satellites, taking its global internet constellation to 4,217. The Falcon 9 rocket carrying these satellites was launched from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 4:01 p.m., Wednesday. This mission, dubbed Starlink 5-10, continued the deployment of SpaceX’s older-generation Starlink V1.5 satellites. SpaceX has paused the launch of new, higher-capacity second-generation Starlinks this month. The first batch of new Starlink V2 Mini satellites is still under troubleshooting due to unspecified issues.

The company has launched over 3,800 functioning Starlink satellites in space, per experts at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. The company launched its first Starlink prototypes in 2018. This number includes test satellites no longer in service and satellites that have already re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere. Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of SpaceX, confirmed that some V2 Mini satellites could be deorbited while some aircraft could become part of the active Starlink fleet.

Starlink satellites are similar to the ones launched over the last few years. Still, SpaceX began launching Starlinks in December into orbital planes that are part of its second-generation, or Gen2, network. The newer Starlink V2 Mini satellites aim to provide four times the broadband capacity of the older version.

According to Jonathan McDowell, the vice president of Starlink commercial sales at SpaceX, the company produces about six satellites daily at a Seattle-based Starlink factory. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved SpaceX to launch up to 7,500 of its planned 29,988-spacecraft Starlink Gen2 constellation. The remaining satellites proposed for Gen2 are still under consideration.

The Gen2 satellites could improve Starlink coverage during growing consumer uptake, particularly over lower latitude regions. Currently, the network has over one million active subscribers, primarily households with unreliable access to conventional fiber connectivity. The Starlink spacecraft beam broadband internet signals to consumers around the world.

SpaceX plans to deploy its new Starship mega-rocket to launch the larger Starlink V2s capable of transmitting signals directly to cell phones. These spacecraft are now undergoing preparation for their first orbital test flight.

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