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SpaceX Releases New Starlink Satellite Design Details – Spaceflight Now



The mission patch for the first dedicated launch of SpaceX for the Starlink network. Credit: SpaceX

The launch of SpaceX's 60 satellites is scheduled for Wednesday night. This will begin the construction of a broadband network of orbiting spacecraft, potentially including thousands of satellites. The basis is a new flat screen design with krypton plasma According to SpaceX engines, high-performance antennas and a camera to warn of danger avoid collisions with other objects in space.

Each of the Starlink satellites weighs about 227 kilograms, according to SpaceX. Stacked in the payload of a Falcon 9 rocket, the 60 satellites weigh 15 tons (13,620 kilograms) and make the freight heaviest on Wednesday night, which SpaceX has ever dumped into orbit.

The new mass record surpasses the weight of SpaceX's fully refueled spacecraft Crew Dragon launched a test flight to the International Space Station on March 2nd.

In a press kit released early Wednesday, SpaceX unveiled new information about the design and functionality of the Starlink satellites. Each Starlink satellite has a flat panel design with multiple high-throughput antennas and a single solar panel as stated in the press kit.

The Starlink Satellites Carry Hall Power Generating Impulses Using Electricity and Krypton Gas

Hall engines provide a more fuel-efficient drive than conventional liquid propellants, but most satellites using Hall engines consume xenon gas. Krypton is cheaper than xenon, but offers less thrust efficiency, according to a 2011 paper by US Air Force engineers and the satellite industry.

The satellites are also equipped with optical trackers to detect space debris so that the vehicle can autonomously avoid collisions with other objects in space.

SpaceX and other commercial broadband offerings to bring thousands of new satellites into orbit raises traffic management issues. SpaceX originally planned to bring the first batch of Starlink satellites into orbit more than 1,150 kilometers. However, last year the company asked the Federal Communications Commission for approval to operate the network at a lower level.

] The FCC approved the request last month.

SpaceX officials said the lower operating altitude for the first Starlink satellites will help address concerns about space debris. If a Starlink relay station in the lower orbit fails, the satellite will be returned to Earth through atmospheric drag within about five years.

"In addition, 95 percent of all components of this design end up burning fast in the Earth's atmosphere. The satellite's lifecycle surpasses all current safety standards. Future iterative constructions will be completely dissolved. "SpaceX said in the press kit that was released early Wednesday.

The 229ft high (70m) Falcon 9 rocket is ready for launch from Cape Canaveral's Complex 40 launch pad during a 90-minute window that will open at 22:30 EDT Wednesday (0230 GMT Thursday ).

According to the 45th US Air Force weather squadron, there is an 80% chance of a good start weather on Wednesday night during the launch window. SpaceX plans to rescue the Falcon 9's first stage boosters, deployed in September 2018 and January on two previous missions on the company's drone ship a few hundred miles northeast of Cape Canaveral.

The mission will be the sixth launch of SpaceX, and the 71st flight of a Falcon 9 rocket since 2010.

The 60 spacecraft propped up on the Falcon 9 rocket for launch on Wednesday unveiled a new satellite design SpaceX intends to mass-produce in a factory in Redmond, Washington. to populate a fleet that could eventually count nearly 12,000 Earth-orbital Internet relay nodes.

SpaceX has captured details about the Starlink satellite layout, including basic information such as the number of starships scheduled to fly on its first rocket launch of the company's broadband network. SpaceX Founder and CEO Elon Musk announced on a Tweet Saturday that 60 satellites will be aboard the Falcon 9 rocket when starting off Florida's space coast.

Musk also tweeted a picture showing the 60 satellites stacked in launch configuration for encapsulation within the Falcon 9's payload fairing

SpaceX is expected to launch 60 satellites to complete with the company's Starlink broadband network deployment Finally, the goal is to transmit Internet signals to consumers around the world. Credit: SpaceX

SpaceX's Starlink fleet is one of several commercial projects currently under development to deliver Internet connectivity around the world. OneWeb launched the first six of its planned 648 satellites in February and will launch up to 100 more satellites by early 2020.

And Amazon, backed by the fortune of billionaire Jeff Bezos, wants to join the race for broadband services from satellite constellations.

SpaceX's Starlink fleet is expected to cost approximately $ 10 billion, with nearly 12,000 Ku-band, Ka-band and V-band satellites at various altitudes in multiple orbits. The first 1,584 Starlink satellites will operate in an orbit of 550 kilometers above ground in 24 orbital planes inclined at 53 degrees to the equator. The launch of the rocket Falcon 9 on Wednesday will begin with the deployment of the 60 Starlink satellites at 62 minutes after takeoff. The launcher targets a 440-kilometer orbit for the separation sequence, and the satellites are activating their Hall-effect thrusters to raise their altitude to their operational 341-kilometer orbit.

SpaceX will launch two Starlink demonstration satellites in February 2018 as a piggyback payload on a Falcon 9 launch from California. Wednesday, when the spacecraft launches, has a different design and is smaller than the test environments launched last year.

"SpaceX has developed Starlink to connect end users to low-latency, high-bandwidth broadband services and to provide continuous coverage around the world via a network of thousands of satellites in a near-Earth orbit," said the SpaceX press brief , "To make and launch a constellation of this size, SpaceX uses the same rapid iteration approach that has led to the success of Falcon 1, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy and Dragon.

It is much more scalable and powerful than its first experimental iteration. "

" This mission will push the capabilities of satellites to their limits, "said SpaceX. "SpaceX expects to encounter problems along the way, but our findings here are the key to developing an affordable and reliable broadband service in the future."

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @ StephenClark1 .


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