SpaceX, led by Elon Musk, has upgraded and expanded its orbiting network by launching the first batch of its next-generation Starlink internet satellites.
On Monday, 21 of the so-called “V2 Mini” satellites were launched into orbit by a Falcon 9 rocket. The first iteration of Starlink’s “Gen2” plans, which were approved by the Federal Communications Commission in December, are represented by the satellites.
Musk published a video of the V2 Mini satellites ascending into orbit from the rocket. The new spacecraft are larger and heavier than the previous models, which means that each Falcon 9 launch carries fewer satellites. Launches of the company’s first-generation models carried approximately 50 to 60 satellites at a time. The company intends to use its currently under development Starship rocket for subsequent Starlink missions of the second generation.
Prior to the launch, SpaceX talked about the new features of the V2 Minis, like “new argon Hall thrusters” for maneuvering in orbit and “more powerful phased array antennas.” The V2 Mini satellites, according to the company, increase network capacity by approximately four times per satellite.
In addition, Monday marked the 100th consecutive attempt by SpaceX to successfully land a Falcon 9 rocket booster following a launch, a streak that began on February 16, 2021. In 2023, the company will launch orbital rockets at an unprecedented rate, with an average of one mission every four days.
Approximately 4,000 Starlink satellites have been launched thus far, and in December, the company’s network had 1 million subscribers across a variety of product offerings, including services for residential, business, RV, maritime, and aviation customers.
Based on demand for capacity, SpaceX altered the pricing of its residential Starlink service last week.
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