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Artykuły o tematyce astronautycznej => Artykuły astronautyczne => Wątek zaczęty przez: Orionid w Maj 15, 2019, 22:23

Tytuł: Różne artykuły o Starlink
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Maj 15, 2019, 22:23
Tytuł wątku zmieniony z [AS] SpaceX Readies First Batch of Starlink Satellites for Wednesday Night Launch

SpaceX Readies First Batch of Starlink Satellites for Wednesday Night Launch
By Ben Evans, on May 14th, 2019

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On its sixth launch of 2019, Wednesday’s planned night launch of the first members of Starlink will also be SpaceX’s fourth flight of the year executed in the hours of darkness. Photo Credit: John Studwell / AmericaSpace

If you believe Elon Musk, the first baby-steps on the journey to Mars begin late Wednesday evening from Space Launch Complex (SLC)-40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla (https://www.americaspace.com/2013/07/10/staging-point-for-the-stars-space-launch-complexes-40-and-41/). The SpaceX CEO has made no secret of the fact that he intends to transform humanity into a spacefaring civilization—with the fabrication of a permanently-inhabited base on the Red Planet his ultimate personal goal (https://www.americaspace.com/2017/09/29/elon-updates-plans-for-spacex-on-moon-and-mars-by-mid-2020s-with-new-bfr/)—and expects part of the financial base for that endeavor to come from the Starlink flotilla of low-Earth-orbiting internet communications satellites.

When the next Upgraded Falcon 9 lights up the night sky along the Space Coast on Wednesday, it will deliver 60 of these smallsat-class satellites into space to begin what Mr. Musk expects will revolutionize low-cost broadband internet provision. In Twitter comments provided late Saturday, the SpaceX CEO noted that the five-dozen-strong swarm of satellites were “flat-packed” into the booster’s payload fairing, with no dispenser.


(https://www.americaspace.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/pazvertical.jpg)
The Upgraded Falcon 9, bearing the Paz payload fairing, is raised to the vertical for launch in February 2018. This mission included a pair of Starlink demo satellites, later dubbed “Tintin A” and “Tintin B”. Photo Credit: SpaceX/Twitter

Current plans are for the Block 5 core to rise from SLC-40 during a 90-minute “launch window”, extending from 10:30 p.m. through midnight EDT Wednesday, 15 May. Weather conditions were predicted to be 70/80-percent favorable and the customary Static Fire Test of the nine Merlin 1D+ first-stage engines was performed on Monday, 13 May.

If the mission launches on time, it will occur a few hours shy of 12 days since another Upgraded Falcon boosted the CRS-17 Dragon from the same launch pad (https://www.americaspace.com/2019/05/04/spacex-launches-late-night-dragon-crs-17-to-space-station/), en-route to the International Space Station (ISS). This will mark the shortest interval yet achieved by SpaceX in executing flights from SLC-40, slightly pipping the 13 days which elapsed between the launches of the CRS-6 Dragon (https://www.americaspace.com/2015/04/14/video-chase-plane-captures-spacex-rocket-landing-attempt-after-successful-crs-6-dragon-launch/) and the heavyweight TurkmenÄlem52E/MonacoSat communications satellite (https://www.americaspace.com/2015/04/27/record-setting-spacex-roars-to-geostationary-orbit-with-spectacular-falcon-9-launch/), way back in April 2015.

Should the mission fly on time, it will also eclipse SpaceX’s all-time record between launches achieved from neighboring Pad 39A in the summer of 2017, when it lofted the BulgariaSat-1 and Intelsat 35e communications satellites, just 12 days and a few hours apart.

The $10 billion Starlink constellation was unveiled by Mr. Musk during an event in Seattle, Wash., back in January 2015, in which he identified it as a means of opening the way for low-cost broadband access to boost data-speeds and increase the availability of internet access around the world. He added that it could provide competitively-priced services to urban regions. Indeed, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai stressed that Starlink has the potential to bring internet access to rural and underserved regions of the United States. Under the announced Starlink plans, an eventual network of around 12,000 satellites in very-low-Earth orbit would have the bandwidth potential to carry up to half of all backhaul communications traffic and up to a tenth of all local internet traffic in high-population-density cities.


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The 60 flat-packed Starlink satellites, pictured aboard the Upgraded Falcon 9 payload fairing. Photo Credit: Elon Musk/Twitter

In November 2016 (https://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/ib/forms/reports/swr031b.hts?q_set=V_SITE_ANTENNA_FREQ.file_numberC/File%20Number/=/SATLOA2016111500118&prepare=&column=V_SITE_ANTENNA_FREQ.file_numberC/), SpaceX filed an application with the FCC, in which it identified the proposed network as a “non-geostationary orbit satellite system”. The initial concept covered the Ku-band and Ka-band portions of the electromagnetic spectrum, respectively between 12-18 GHz and 26.5-40 GHz. By March 2017, a second orbital “shell” of satellites was filed with the FCC, using the V-band (https://spacenews.com/spacex-asks-fcc-to-make-exception-for-leo-constellations-in-connect-america-fund-decisions/), a region not “heavily employed for commercial communications services”. The V-band covers 40-75 GHz and historically has been utilized for millimeter-wave radar research and other scientific investigations, but has acute potential for high-capacity terrestrial millimeter-wave communications systems.

All told, it was expected that Starlink would comprise 4,425 Ku-/Ka-band satellites at an altitude of 710 miles (1,150 km) and 7,518 V-band satellites at just 210 miles (340 km) above the Home Planet, producing a constellation of around 12,000 smallsat-sized satellites in low-Earth orbit by the mid-2020s. However, in November of last year (https://fcc.report/IBFS/SAT-MOD-20181108-00083), SpaceX made new regulatory filings with the FCC to alter its previously granted license to operate almost a third of the Ku-/Ka-band Starlink complement—some 1,584 satellites—at a much lower altitude, just 340 miles (550 km) above Earth. That request was approved last month (https://spacenews.com/fcc-oks-lower-orbit-for-some-starlink-satellites/) by the FCC.

Operations at such low altitude, of course, are expected to suffer from exceptionally high atmospheric drag and a shorter nominal orbital lifetime. SpaceX has previously indicated (https://spacenews.com/us-regulators-approve-spacex-constellation-but-deny-waiver-for-easier-deployment-deadline/) that the satellites’ useful lives are expected to range from five to seven years apiece, after which they will be propulsively maneuvered to a “disposal orbit”, for controlled re-entry within 12 months of completing their missions.

A pair of test satellites, dubbed “MicroSat-1a” and “MicroSat-1b”, were originally slated to validate the broadband antenna platform for Starlink, traveling to orbit alongside one of the Iridium NEXT missions (https://www.americaspace.com/2019/01/11/spacex-completes-iridium-next-constellation-kicks-off-ambitious-2019/) from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. However, they were ultimately relegated to use as ground-based test articles, as development of the more capable “MicroSat-2a” and “MicroSat-2b” test satellites got underway in earnest.


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The Tintin A and Tintin B test satellites were deployed in February 2018, alongside Spain’s Paz radar-imaging observation/reconnaissance satellite. Photo Credit: SpaceX

In February 2018, MicroSat-2a and 2b—subsequently renamed “Tintin A” and “Tintin B”—were launched from Vandenberg, riding piggyback alongside Spain’s Paz radar-imaging Earth-observation/reconnaissance satellite (https://www.americaspace.com/2018/02/22/paz-radar-imaging-satellite-heads-to-polar-orbit-mr-steven-attempts-fairing-recovery/). The duo entered a circular orbit 319 miles (514 km) high and served to validate the design of a phased-array broadband antenna communications platform for Starlink, using five broadband array test ground stations in the western United States, together with three transportable ground stations.

In his Twitter comments over the weekend, Mr. Musk stressed that the 60 Starlink satellites aboard Wednesday’s mission are different from Tintin A and Tintin B. “These are production design,” he told his 26.4 million followers, “unlike our earlier Tintin demo sats.” He also noted the risk that “much will likely go wrong on first mission” and gave an indication of the kind of numbers of Starlinks needed in orbit to achieve capacity. “Also, six more launches of 60 sats needed for minor coverage, 12 for moderate.” This would appear to be in keeping with earlier allusions that at least two more Starlink-dedicated missions may fly later in 2019.

With 60 flat-packed Starlink payloads aboard Wednesday’s mission, the size of these satellites are believed to be in the “smallsat” class, with a mass range approximating 850 pounds (390 kg). Mr. Musk has previously indicated his intention to mass-produce them and “try to do for satellites what we’ve done for rockets”


Source: https://www.americaspace.com/2019/05/14/spacex-readies-first-batch-of-starlink-satellites-for-wednesday-night-launch/#more-108202
Tytuł: Odp: [AS]SpaceX Readies First Batch of Starlink Satellites for Wednesday Night Launch
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Maj 16, 2019, 16:42
Musk says Starlink “economically viable” with around 1,000 satellites
by Caleb Henry — May 15, 2019 [SN]

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Each batch of 60 Starlink satellites will bring about a terabit of usable broadband capacity, according to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. Credit: SpaceX

WASHINGTON — SpaceX shared details about its largely secretive Starlink constellation program March 15, providing updated targets for commercial service, details about satellite design and the thought process behind why the company’s upper target is 12,000 satellites — about six times the number functioning in orbit for the rest of the world combined.

SpaceX’s first launch with a large number of Starlink satellites was pushed back 24 hours, with a new launch window opening at 10:30 p.m. Eastern May 16. The Falcon 9 mission will carry 60 Starlink satellites.

Though the spacecraft lack intersatellite links and other features expected in later iterations, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said the satellites mark the start of deployment for a constellation designed to deliver internet access to unreached and underserved parts of the world.

Musk, in a call with reporters, said SpaceX views 1,000 satellites as the point when Starlink becomes economically solid.

“For the system to be economically viable, it’s really on the order of 1,000 satellites,” he said. “If we are putting a lot more satellites than that in orbit, that’s a very good thing — it means there is a lot of demand for the system.”

SpaceX asked for and received U.S. market access for a constellation numbering almost 12,000 satellites. Until recently (https://spacenews.com/spacex-to-launch-dozens-of-starlink-satellites-may-15-more-starlink-launches-to-follow/), regulatory filings with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission have been the main way information about SpaceX’s constellation was made publicly available.

Musk said reaching 12,000 satellites would indicate a “very successful outcome” for Starlink.

SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell said May 7 that the company plans three to seven Starlink launches this year.

Musk said subsequent Starlink launches would each carry roughly 60 satellites. Going forward, Musk said SpaceX  could launch 1,000 to 2,000 satellites a year using its Falcon family of rockets.

“It’s a heck of a lot of launches. We will hopefully have Starship active by the time we are anywhere near 12,000 satellites,” he said, referring to the next-generation fully reusable launch system SpaceX is developing.

There are roughly 2,100 operational satellites in orbit today from all the world’s satellite operators, according to a report from Bryce Space and Technology issued May 8.

Musk said Starlink will have continual coverage of limited geographies at around 400 satellites, or seven launches including tomorrow’s mission. Mark Juncosa, SpaceX’s vice president of vehicle engineering, said 12 Starlink launches would ensure coverage of the United States. After 24 launches, Starlink would cover most of the world’s population, and 30 launches would be sufficient to cover the planet, Juncosa said.

With every launch, SpaceX will add about a terabit of “usable capacity,” Musk said, and two to three terabits overall.

Satellite operators sometimes draw a distinction between usable capacity and aggregate capacity when discussing low-Earth-orbit constellations, since the constellations are generally designed for global coverage, but are unlikely to have customers in every location where beams are active.

SpaceX’s projection for Starlink puts its usable capacity higher than any single geostationary communications satellite in orbit today, and would significantly outpace any other publicly known low-Earth-orbit constellation under development. Telesat, which is planning a constellation of 300 satellites, estimates it will provide 8 terabits of “useful capacity.” The satellites in OneWeb’s first-generation constellation of 600 operational satellites and 50 spares are designed to carry 10 gigabits per second each, meaning the system should presumably offer 6 terabits per second of aggregate capacity (OneWeb did not respond to a May 14 request to confirm that number).


Updated Starlink designs

SpaceX launched two prototype Starlink satellites in February 2018. These new satellites will be significantly different, Musk said.

Musk said Starlink’s newest 60 satellites carry phased array antennas and ion propulsion units that run on krypton instead of the typical xenon gas. SpaceX chose krypton because it is less expensive than xenon, Musk said.

SpaceX’s first-generation satellites won’t have intersatellite links, but will be able to use ground stations as relays to “ground bounce” signals around the world, he said. Later generations would include intersatellite links and other upgrades, he said, though he didn’t give a timeframe for when those would be introduced.

Musk said SpaceX would like to keep Starlink satellites in orbit for four to five years before deorbiting and replacing them with newer, more capable models.


Antennas and customers

Musk said Starlink user terminals will also use phased array, electronically steered antennas — a technology widely considered essential for the success of low-Earth-orbit broadband constellations.

In contrast to traditional dish antennas, electronically steered systems can track two or more satellites simultaneously, meaning no loss in connection when satellites rise and set over the horizon.

Musk said Starlink terminals, leveraging work by SpaceX’s “chip team,” can switch between satellites in under a thousandth of a second, and will support a system where the overall latency is under 20 milliseconds.

Musk described the terminals as similar in size to a small or medium pizza. While Musk mainly talked about Starlink as a system to bridge the digital divide by connecting unreached peoples, Musk said the antennas could also serve the more lucrative markets of aviation and maritime that most satellite operators are pursuing. The antennas could also be used to connect cars, he said.

Musk didn’t say how much the antennas would cost, however, or when they would be available. Most electronically steered antennas are too expensive for consumers and businesses to utilize.

Musk said SpaceX has not tried to win customers for Starlink yet, believing it would be better to have a firm grasp on its constellation deployment schedule first. SpaceX will likely start selling connectivity later this year or early next year if all goes well, he said.

Musk said SpaceX is interested in signing telcos as customers, as well as governments that want to connect hard to reach parts of their countries.

SpaceX plans to use Starlink to generate more funding in support of its goal of establishing a colony on Mars, Musk said. Starlink revenue would also help fund a base on the moon, he said.


Source: https://spacenews.com/musk-says-starlink-economically-viable-with-around-1000-satellites/
Tytuł: Odp: [AS]SpaceX Readies First Batch of Starlink Satellites for Wednesday Night Launch
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Maj 20, 2019, 22:42
SpaceX releases new details on Starlink satellite design
May 15, 2019 Stephen Clark [SFN]

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

The 60 satellites SpaceX is set to launch Wednesday night, beginning the build-out of a broadband network of orbiting spacecraft that could eventually number thousands, are based on a new flat-panel design, with krypton-fueled plasma thrusters, high-power antennas, and a capability to autonomously steer away from other objects in space.

Each of the Starlink satellites weighs around 500 pounds (227 kilograms), according to SpaceX. Stacked together inside the payload shroud of a Falcon 9 rocket, the 60 satellites weigh 15 tons (13,620 kilograms), making the cargo on Wednesday night’s launch the heaviest ever lofted into orbit by SpaceX.

The new mass record bests the weight of SpaceX’s fully-fueled Crew Dragon spacecraft, which launched March 2 on an unpiloted test flight to the International Space Station.

In a press kit released early Wednesday, SpaceX disclosed new information about the Starlink satellites’ design and functionality. Each Starlink spacecraft has a flat-panel design with multiple high-throughput antennas and a single solar array, according to information released in the press kit.

The Starlink satellites carry Hall thrusters, which use electricity and krypton gas to generate an impulse, to maneuver in orbit, maintain altitude and guide the spacecraft back into the atmosphere at the end of their mission.

Hall thrusters provide a more fuel-efficient form of propulsion than conventional liquid propellants, but most satellites that use Hall thrusters consume xenon gas. Krypton is less expensive than xenon, but offers less thrust efficiency, according to a 2011 paper presented by U.S. Air Force and satellite industry engineers.

The satellites also host optical trackers to detect space debris, allowing the craft to autonomously avoid collisions with other objects in space.

Proposals by SpaceX and other would-be commercial broadband providers to launch thousands of new satellites into orbit have raised questions about traffic management. SpaceX originally intended to launch the first batch of Starlink satellites to a higher 741-mile-high (1,150-kilometer) orbit, but the company requested authority from the Federal Communications Commission last year to begin operating the network at a lower altitude.

The FCC approved the request (https://spaceflightnow.com/2019/04/30/fcc-approves-spacexs-plan-to-operate-starlink-satellites-at-lower-altitude/) last month.

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

“Additionally, 95 percent of all components of this design will quickly burn in Earth’s atmosphere at the end of each satellite’s life cycle — exceeding all current safety standards — with future iterative designs moving to complete disintegration,” SpaceX said in the press kit published early Wednesday.

The 229-foot-tall (70-meter) Falcon 9 rocket is set for liftoff from Cape Canaveral’s Complex 40 launch pad during a 90-minute window that opens at 10:30 p.m. EDT Wednesday (0230 GMT Thursday).

There is an 80 percent chance of good weather for liftoff during Wednesday night’s launch window, according to the U.S. Air Force’s 45th Weather Squadron. SpaceX plans to recover the Falcon 9’s first stage booster, which flew on two previous missions in September 2018 and in January, on the company’s drone ship a few hundred miles northeast of Cape Canaveral.

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

The 60 spacecraft packed on top of the Falcon 9 rocket for launch Wednesday introduce a new satellite design SpaceX intends to mass-produce at a factory in Redmond, Washington, to populate a fleet that could eventually number nearly 12,000 Internet relay nodes in low Earth orbit.

SpaceX has closely held details about the Starlink satellite layout, including basic information such as the number of spacecraft slated to fly on the company’s first rocket launch dedicated to the broadband network. Elon Musk, SpaceX’s founder and CEO, revealed in a tweet Saturday that 60 satellites will be aboard the Falcon 9 rocket when it takes off from Florida’s Space Coast.

Musk also tweeted a picture showing the 60 satellites stacked in launch configuration, ready for encapsulation inside the Falcon 9’s payload fairing.


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SpaceX is set to launch 60 satellites to begin deployment of the company’s Starlink broadband network, which eventually aims to beam Internet signals to consumers around the world. Credit: SpaceX

SpaceX’s Starlink fleet is one of several commercial projects in development to beam Internet connectivity around the world. OneWeb launched the first six of its planned 648 satellites in February, with up to 100 more spacecraft scheduled for launch by early 2020.

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

SpaceX’s Starlink fleet is reportedly set to cost around $10 billion, with nearly 12,000 Ku-band, Ka-band and V-band satellites positioned in at different altitudes in multiple orbital planes. The first 1,584 Starlink satellites are slated to operate in orbits 341 miles (550 kilometers) above Earth, spread in 24 orbital planes inclined 53 degrees to the equator.

The Falcon 9 rocket launching Wednesday will begin deploying the 60 Starlink satellites around 62 minutes after liftoff. The launcher will target a 273-mile-high (440-kilometer) orbit for the separation sequence, and the satellites will activate their Hall-effect thrusters to raise their altitude to their 341-mile-high operating orbit.

SpaceX launched two Starlink demonstration satellites in February 2018 as piggyback payloads on a Falcon 9 launch from California. The spacecraft launching Wednesday have a different design, and are smaller than the testbeds launched last year.

“SpaceX designed Starlink to connect end users with low-latency, high-bandwidth broadband services by providing continual coverage around the world using a network of thousands of satellites in low Earth orbit,” SpaceX said in the press kit. “To manufacture and launch a constellation of such scale, SpaceX is using the same rapid iteration in design approach that led to the successes of Falcon 1, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, and Dragon.

“As such, Starlink’s simplified design is significantly more scalable and capable than its first experimental iteration,” SpaceX said.

“This mission will push the operational capabilities of the satellites to the limit,” SpaceX said. “SpaceX expects to encounter issues along the way, but our learnings here are key to developing an affordable and reliable broadband service in the future.”


Source: https://spaceflightnow.com/2019/05/15/spacex-releases-new-details-on-starlink-satellite-design/
Tytuł: Odp: [AS]SpaceX Readies First Batch of Starlink Satellites for Wednesday Night Launch
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Maj 25, 2019, 07:55
SpaceX’s first 60 Starlink broadband satellites deployed in orbit
May 24, 2019 Stephen Clark [SFN]

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A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off Thursday night from pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Credit: SpaceX

SpaceX successfully delivered the first 60 members of the company’s Starlink broadband satellite fleet to orbit Thursday night after a launch from Cape Canaveral.

The 60 small satellites, each with a flat-panel design and built by an in-house SpaceX team, will be joined by hundreds more Starlink craft over the next year to fill out the network’s preliminary constellation. Eventually, SpaceX says thousands of Starlink satellites may be launched to provide high-speed Internet services to consumers around the world.

Thursday night’s launch from Cape Canaveral was the first mission dedicated to the multibillion-dollar Starlink project.

“This is one of the hardest engineering projects I’ve ever seen done, and it’s been executed really well,” said Elon Musk, SpaceX’s founder and CEO, during a press briefing last week. “There is a lot of new technology here, and it’s possible that some of these satellites may not work, and in fact a small possibility that all the satellites will not work.

“We don’t want to count anything until it’s hatched, but these are, I think, a great design and we’ve done everything we can to maximize the probability of success,” he said.

A 229-foot-tall (70-meter) Falcon 9 rocket took off from Cape Canaveral’s Complex 40 launch pad at 10:30 p.m. EDT Thursday (0230 GMT Friday) to begin the journey into orbit atop 1.7 million pounds of thrust from nine Merlin main engines.

SpaceX tried to launch the mission twice last week, but unfavorable upper level winds forced the team to call off one launch attempt. Then SpaceX scrubbed another countdown the next day to allow time for engineers to update the software on the Starlink satellites, delaying the mission by a week.

Heading northeast from Florida’s Space Coast, the launcher’s first stage finished its job on the mission in two-and-a-half minutes, then separated and accomplished an on-target propulsive landing on SpaceX’s drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.

The landing punctuated the booster’s third flight, following successful launches and recoveries last September and in January. SpaceX could refurbish and reuse the rocket again.

Recovery teams in the Atlantic also retrieved the two-part nose cone from the Falcon 9 rocket, which fell into the sea under parachutes. SpaceX has not yet re-flown a payload fairing.

The Falcon 9’s second stage engine shut down just shy the flight’s nine-minute point, and the rocket coasted across the Atlantic, over Europe and the Middle East, then reignited its Merlin engine for a brief maneuver to nudge the Starlink satellites into a targeted orbit 273 miles (440 kilometers) above Earth.

The rocket commanded release of the 60 Starlink satellites, each weighing around 500 pounds (227 kilograms), at 11:32 p.m. EDT (0332 GMT) as the launcher soared over a ground station in Tasmania. Live video transmitted through the tracking station showed the satellites flying free of the Falcon 9’s second stage, backdropped by the curvature of the Earth.

Stacked together inside the payload shroud of the Falcon 9 rocket, the 60 satellites weighed 15 tons (13,620 kilograms), making the cargo on Thursday night’s launch the heaviest ever lofted into orbit by SpaceX. The new mass record bested the weight of SpaceX’s fully-fueled Crew Dragon spacecraft, which launched March 2 on an unpiloted test flight to the International Space Station.

Musk described the unique Starlink separation scheme in a pre-launch press briefing.

“It will be a little bit different looking deployment than people are used to,” Musk told reporters last week. “It’s going to be a very slow deployment where we rotate the stage, and each of the satellites on the stack has a slightly different amount of rotational inertia.”

Live video from a camera on-board the upper stage showed the rocket begin a spin maneuver just before the deployment. The 60 flat-panel satellites separated in a clump, instead of one-at-a-time or in pairs, as spacecraft often do when releasing from the launch vehicle.

“So there’s not actually a spring-based or specific deployment mechanism per satellite,” Musk said. The satellites will kind of be deployed, it’s almost like spreading a deck of cards on a table. This will be kind of weird compared to normal satellite deployments.”

The Starlink satellites could be seen slowly dispersing soon after separating from the Falcon 9, before SpaceX ended its live webcast of the mission. The upper stage later conducted a deorbit burn to drop back into the atmosphere and burn up.

Musk tweeted after Thursday night’s launch that all 60 Starlink satellites were “online.” He said the satellites were expected to extend their power-generating solar panels and activate their ion thrusters within a few hours.

Each satellite carries a krypton ion propulsion system and Ku-band antennas to continue in-orbit demonstrations of SpaceX’s planned broadband network, which may eventually number up to 12,000 small relay stations in low Earth orbit.

Future Starlink satellites will carry Ka-band and V-band radio transmission hardware, along with laser inter-satellite links to allow signals to bounce between spacecraft in orbit, rather than going through a ground station.

Each Starlink spacecraft has a flat-panel design with four high-throughput phased array antennas and a single solar array, according to information released by SpaceX. The company built the satellites at a new facility in Redmond, Washington.

SpaceX says the Starlink satellites are the first to use krypton-fueled ion thrusters. The propulsion system ionizes the krypton gas and uses electricity to accelerate the atoms out the back of the engine to produce a low level of thrust.

Ion thrusters provide a more fuel-efficient form of propulsion than conventional liquid propellants, but most satellites that use ion propulsion consume xenon gas. Krypton is less expensive than xenon, but offers lower thrust efficiency, according to a 2011 paper presented by U.S. Air Force and satellite industry engineers.

The satellites also have computer smarts allowing the craft to autonomously avoid collisions with other objects in space.

Proposals by SpaceX and other would-be commercial broadband providers planning to launch thousands of new satellites into orbit have raised questions about traffic management. SpaceX originally intended to launch the first batch of Starlink satellites to a higher 741-mile-high (1,150-kilometer) orbit, but the company requested authority from the Federal Communications Commission last year to begin operating the network at a lower altitude.

The FCC approved the request (https://spaceflightnow.com/2019/04/30/fcc-approves-spacexs-plan-to-operate-starlink-satellites-at-lower-altitude/) last month.


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Artist’s concept of a Starlink satellite with its solar array wing unfurled. Credit: SpaceX

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

“Additionally, 95 percent of all components of this design will quickly burn in Earth’s atmosphere at the end of each satellite’s life cycle — exceeding all current safety standards — with future iterative designs moving to complete disintegration,” SpaceX said in the press kit on the Starlink mission.

SpaceX launched two Starlink test satellites as piggyback payloads on a Falcon 9 launch last year, but the craft launched Thursday night are lighter and use a different design.

Using their krypton thrusters, the new Starlink satellites will climb into higher orbits 341 miles (550 kilometers) above Earth, at an inclination of 53 degrees to the equator.

Past initiatives to create an expansive communications satellite network in low Earth orbit, a regime a few hundred miles above Earth, have met technical and financial headwinds. Traditional communications satellites fly in higher geostationary orbits more than 22,000 miles (nearly 36,000 kilometers) above the equator, with a single spacecraft covering a wide geographic region.

In lower orbits, the Starlink satellites will bounce signals from user-to-user via an intricate web of radio connections through ground stations, and eventually through the inter-satellite laser cross-links.

“The goal of the Starlink system is to provide high bandwidth, low latency connectivity, ideally throughout the world provided we get regulatory approval, and this would provide connectivity to people that don’t have any connectivity today, or where it’s extremely expensive and unreliable as well as providing options for people who may have connectivity today in developed areas of the world but it’s very expensive,” Musk said. “This will provide a competitive option for them.”

Starlink is one of several companies working on constellations of small broadband satellites in low Earth orbit. Backed by a roster of international investors, including Japan’s SoftBank Group, OneWeb launched its first six satellites in February on a Soyuz rocket, with plans to send hundreds more into orbit over the next two years, and Amazon says it plans to build a network consisting of thousands of satellites for Internet service.

“There’s a lot of fundamental goodness about Starlink,” he said. “We just want to make sure the appropriate caveats are there. There’s a lot of technology, this is very hard, and quite frankly in the past, the success of low-Earth orbit communications constellations, I believe none have successfully gone into operation without going bankrupt.”

SpaceX has secured regulatory approval from the Federal Communications Commission for nearly 12,000 Starlink satellites broadcasting in Ku-band, Ka-band and V-band frequencies, with groups of spacecraft positioned at different altitudes and in various planes in low Earth orbit. But the early focus is on launching hundreds of the satellites to establish a network that covers most of the world’s population.

“It’s important to distinguish between initial operational capability, which is around the 400-satellite level, and then significant operational capability is around 800-satellite level, and thereafter, it’s about adding more and more satellites and more orbital planes of satellites as we get more usage of the system and we get bandwidth constrained,” Musk said. “One does not need anywhere near 10,000 satellites to be effective. … We’ll start selling service initial around the 400th satellite launch and then make sure our production and launch of satellites stays ahead of user demand.”

If there’s demand, SpaceX could scale up the network to reach the 12,000-satellite threshold.

After the first Starlink launch, SpaceX plans between two and six additional Starlink missions later this year to begin building out the first phase of the network in orbit 341 miles above Earth, according to Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s president and chief operating officer.

SpaceX debuted a new Starlink website (https://www.starlink.com/)new Starlink website soon after Thursday night’s launch. According to the website, the Starlink system will provide broadband service over the latitudes of the northern United States and Canada after six additional launches. After 24 launches, the network should cover the populated world.

Musk said the user terminal consumers will use to connect with the Starlink network is a flat antenna — about the size of a small or medium pizza — that is relatively simple to set up. He did not say how much the user terminal will cost, or disclose the expected price of a subscription to Starlink’s broadband service.

In addition to consumer-scale broadband, the Starlink network could help large telecom operators in rural areas. Airplanes and ships are also prime markets for Starlink.

“We think this could be really helpful to telcos (telecom operators) by providing connectivity that they need for the most difficult to serve customers, as well as providing data backhaul services so that a telco could put down a 5G cell tower somewhere instead of digging a fiber trench over potentially hundreds of miles,” Musk said. “That 5G cell tower could do data backhaul through our satellite system.”

Musk said SpaceX has enough money to get the privately-funded Starlink system operational. A filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission last month showed SpaceX had raised $44 million in a $400 million fundraising round, and a filing in January showed SpaceX had raised $273 million of a planned $500 million in an earlier round.

But Musk told reporters last week that SpaceX’s funding rounds have been “oversubscribed,” and suggested the information contained in the regulatory filings was “out-of-date.”

“This is obviously a multibillion-dollar endeavor,” Musk said. “So we’ve got the cash flow that we generate from our normal launch operations, launching commercial satellites and launching Dragon to the space station, that kind of thing, as well as capital that we have raised. At this point, it looks like we have sufficient capital to get to an operational level, but of course, if things go wrong and there are unexpected issues, we will need to raise more capital in that situation.”

Tim Farrar, a satellite and telecommunications industry consultant, said the first launches for the SpaceX and OneWeb broadband networks puts pressure on other players.

“We’re going to be involved in a race between SpaceX and OneWeb to launch as many satellites as possible,” Farrar said in an interview with Spaceflight Now before the Starlink launch. “It sort of limits the opportunities for other constellations like Telesat to find partners and raise money, unless they’re going find some deal with Jeff Bezos and Amazon.

“OneWeb was talking … about launching as many 100 satellites by the end of this year or early next year. SpaceX is talking about having multiple additional launches over the next six to 12 months,” said Farrar, president of TMF Associates, a consulting firm in Menlo Park, California. “At that point you do have a question … Is there room for another player that’s going to take a couple of years before they can even launch any more satellites?”

For Musk, the Starlink system is not only a business opportunity. It could also offer a potential revenue stream for SpaceX to pay for costly rocket development projects, such as the company’s Starship and Super Heavy vehicles, which Musk envisions as a reusable multi-purpose vehicle for huge satellite launches and interplanetary voyages with cargo and people.

“We see this as a way for SpaceX to generate revenue that can be used to develop more and more advanced rockets and spaceships, and we think this is a key stepping stone on the way toward establishing a self-sustaining on Mars and a base on the moon,” Musk said. “We believe we can use the revenue from Starlink to fund Starship.”


Source: https://spaceflightnow.com/2019/05/24/spacexs-first-60-starlink-broadband-satellites-deployed-in-orbit/
Tytuł: Odp: [AS]SpaceX Readies First Batch of Starlink Satellites for Wednesday Night Launch
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Czerwiec 05, 2019, 13:34
Little legal recourse for astronomers concerned about Starlink
by Jeff Foust — June 3, 2019 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/starlink-trails.jpg)
An image released by the IAU June 3 shows trails made by dozens of Starlink satellites as they passed through the field of view of a telescope during an observation shortly after launch. The IAU noted in its statement that the density and brightness of the satellites in this image is not representative of their appearance in their final orbital configuration. Credit: Victoria Girgis/Lowell Observatory

WASHINGTON — Despite complaints by individual astronomers and astronomical organizations, legal experts say there is little they can do under existing federal law and regulations to halt the deployment of SpaceX’s Starlink satellites.

SpaceX launched the first set of 60 Starlink satellites May 23. The next evening, amateur astronomers noticed them passing in a closely-bunched train, bright enough to be easily seen by the naked eye. The satellites have subsequently spread out in the sky and raised their altitude, becoming harder to see but occasionally flaring to brighter magnitudes.

The initial appearance has alarmed many professional astronomers, who are concerned that the full Starlink constellation — SpaceX has licenses from the Federal Communications Commission for up to about 12,000 satellites — could interfere with groundbased astronomy. In some scenarios, hundreds of satellites could be visible in the sky at any given time, making it more likely one will cross the field of view of a telescope and disrupt an observation.

“The rapid increase in the number of satellite groups poses an emerging threat to the natural nighttime environment and our heritage of dark skies,” said the International Dark-Sky Association, a group devoted primarily to addressing terrestrial light pollution threats to astronomy, in a May 29 statement.

That statement also included an anecdote from James Lowenthal, a professor of astronomy at Smith College, who observed the initial Starlink train while on an outing with students. Seeing the satellites, he said, was a “shocking and devastating sight.”

The International Astronomical Union (IAU), an organization best known for overseeing nomenclature for celestial bodies, also weighed in, noting the potential for satellite constellations such as Starlink to interfere with both optical and radio astronomy.

“Satellite constellations can pose a significant or debilitating threat to important existing and future astronomical infrastructures, and we urge their designers and deployers as well as policy-makers to work with the astronomical community in a concerted effort to analyze and understand the impact of satellite constellations,” the IAU said in a June 3 statement. “We also urge appropriate agencies to devise a regulatory framework to mitigate or eliminate the detrimental impacts on scientific exploration as soon as practical.”

However, currently in the United States there are no regulations that apply to the appearance of satellites in the night sky, beyond a prohibition in federal law against “obtrusive space advertising,” defined as “advertising in outer space that is capable of being recognized by a human being on the surface of the Earth without the aid of a telescope or other technological device.” Simply being able to see a satellite from the ground, legal experts say, does not qualify as obtrusive space advertising.

The Starlink satellites are licensed by the FCC, and their launches on Falcon 9 rockets are licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration. Neither licensing process explicitly includes a consideration of the impact of satellites on the night sky.

Michael Listner of Space Law and Policy Solutions said in a June 3 interview that the only legal recourse for astronomers would be to file a case in federal court, including seeking a temporary injunction to block future launches. He was skeptical, though, that such a case would be successful, since damages to astronomers from constellations like Starlink are only “speculative” at this time.

Others noted that astronomers missed opportunities to comment earlier, such as when the FCC was considering SpaceX’s original application for the Starlink constellation or its more recent modification seeking approval to operate some satellites at a lower altitude. The public docket for that application, on the FCC’s website, primarily consists of letters and petitions from other satellite operators concerned about radiofrequency interference.

The only comment from astronomers came from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), which filed a letter in February 2018 noting that efforts between SpaceX and NRAO to coordinate frequency usage “trailed off inconclusively” in mid-2017.

The NRAO, in a May 31 statement, said it and the Green Bank Observatory in West Virginia had been working with SpaceX about radiofrequency interference issues. “These discussions have been fruitful and are providing valuable guidelines that could be considered by other such systems as well,” the NRAO stated. “To date, SpaceX has demonstrated their respect for our concerns and their support for astronomy.”

SpaceX executives said they’re aware of concerns by astronomers about the effects Starlink satellites could have on their observations. Elon Musk, founder and chief executive of the company, said in a May 27 tweet that he had asked engineers to look into “albedo reduction” of future Starlink satellites (https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1132908689860415488) that would make them reflect less sunlight and thus appear dimmer.

“If we need to tweak sat orientation to minimize solar reflection during critical astronomical experiments, that’s easily done,” he said in another tweet (https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1132902372458418176). He didn’t define what would be considered a “critical” observation.

Gwynne Shotwell, president of SpaceX, said at a May 29 symposium at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that the company was still trying to understand what causes the satellites to often appear bright while “working on ways to make that less severe,” according to one attendee (https://twitter.com/hbhammel/status/1133822525266440193).


Source: https://spacenews.com/little-legal-recourse-for-astronomers-concerned-about-starlink/
Tytuł: Odp: [AS]SpaceX Readies First Batch of Starlink Satellites for Wednesday Night Launch
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Lipiec 07, 2019, 19:15
Contact lost with three Starlink satellites, other 57 healthy
by Caleb Henry — July 1, 2019 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Starlink-Screenshot-879x485.png)
Of the 60 Starlink satellites launched in May, 45 have completed orbit raising, five are in the process of orbit raising, and another five are completing system checks. Credit: SpaceX

WASHINGTON — Three of the 60 satellites SpaceX launched last month to begin its broadband megaconstellation have lost contact with ground control teams, a SpaceX spokesperson said June 28.

Those three satellites will deorbit “passively,” the spokesperson said, meaning Earth’s gravity and atmospheric drag will pull them down until they burn up in the atmosphere.

Observers had noticed some Starlink satellites had not initiated orbit raising after being released May 23 from a Falcon 9 upper stage into a 440-kilometer low Earth orbit. SpaceX said May 31 that all 60 satellites were initially responsive.

SpaceX’s spokesperson, in their June 28 statement, said the company will intentionally deorbit two functioning satellites as well, in order to test the spacecraft’s ability to propulsively deorbit.

“Three satellites which initially communicated with the ground but are no longer in service, will passively deorbit,” the spokesperson said. “Due to their design and low orbital position, all five deorbiting satellites will disintegrate once they enter Earth’s atmosphere in support of SpaceX’s commitment to a clean space environment.”

SpaceX Founder Elon Musk stressed that the early Starlink satellites had a high risk of not working (https://spacenews.com/spacex-launches-60-starlink-satellites-begins-constellation-buildout/) given the quantity of newly developed technology they carry.

“It’s possible that some of these satellites may not work, and in fact [there’s a] small possibility that all of the satellites will not work,” he said during a May 15 call with reporters. “But these are a great design and we’ve done everything we can to maximize probability of success.”

SpaceX sought and received approval from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to operate a portion of its megaconstellation in a 550-kilometer orbit (https://spacenews.com/fcc-oks-lower-orbit-for-some-starlink-satellites/) instead of its originally planned 1,150-kilometer altitude. The lower orbit means the satellites will deorbit within five years without propulsion, according to SpaceX.

SpaceX’s spokesperson said 45 of the 60 Starlink satellites have reached their target altitude. Another five are in the process of orbit raising, and the last five are completing “check-outs” before also orbit raising, the spokesperson said.

The 60 satellites SpaceX launched in May are not the final design for its constellation of up to 12,000 satellites. The satellites lack inter-satellite links expected for future generations, and have some dissimilar features so that the company can test different technologies.

“SpaceX implemented slight variations across the 60 satellites in order to maximize operational capability across the fleet,” the spokesperson said. “While we are pleased with the performance of the satellites so far, SpaceX will continue to push the operational capabilities of the satellites to inform future iterations.”

The spokesperson said SpaceX will use the early Starlink satellites to tests signal speed and capacity by “streaming videos and playing some high bandwidth video games using gateways throughout North America.”

SpaceX says having satellites at 550 kilometers means it can achieve latencies of around 15 milliseconds, a noticeable difference between geostationary satellites that can have around half a second or more of signal lag.

SpaceX claims to be the first among the 11 participants in the Federal Communications Commission’s Ku-Ka-band spectrum processing round to have Ku-band non-geosynchronous satellites operating over the United States. SpaceX told the FCC in a June 12 letter that being first means the company met conditions to have first choice in the U.S. for Ku-band “home base” radio frequencies in the event of in-line interference with another non-geosynchronous satellite operator.

Two other constellation companies dispute SpaceX’s claim, however. London-based OneWeb and Kepler Communications of Canada have Ku-band satellites in orbit and FCC authorization to provide communications services in the United States. OneWeb launched six of an initial 648-satellite broadband constellation (https://spacenews.com/first-six-oneweb-satellites-launch-on-soyuz-rocket/) in February, and Kepler Communications has two of a planned 140 Internet-of-Things satellites in orbit, the first of which launched in February 2018 (https://spacenews.com/kepler-confirms-health-of-leo-ku-band-cubesat/).


Source: https://spacenews.com/contact-lost-with-three-starlink-satellites-other-57-healthy/
Tytuł: Odp: [AS]SpaceX Readies First Batch of Starlink Satellites for Wednesday Night Launch
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Lipiec 07, 2019, 19:15
Starlink failures highlight space sustainability concerns
by Jeff Foust — July 1, 2019 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/starlink-stack.jpg)
A stack of Starlink satellites being prepared for launch. A five percent failure rate for the first set of 60 satellites has heightened concerns that megaconstellations could leave hundreds of dead satellites in long-lived orbits. Credit: SpaceX

WASHINGTON — The failure of at least five percent of the first batch of SpaceX Starlink satellites has put a spotlight on the growing concerns that satellite megaconstellations could litter low Earth orbit with hundreds of dead satellites.

SpaceX said in a June 28 statement that three of the 60 Starlink satellites the company launched May 23 are no longer responding to commands from the ground and appear to be dead. The company said those satellites will deorbit naturally, burning up in the Earth’s atmosphere.

In addition to the three failed satellites, five others are still raising their orbits to their planned altitude of 550 kilometers, while five others are still undergoing tests in their initial, lower orbits. It wasn’t clear when, or if, those satellites would reach their operational orbit.

SpaceX had stressed prior to the launch that these satellites were, in effect, experimental, and had a higher risk of on-orbit failures as the company demonstrates their key technologies. Launching them into lower orbits ensures they should deorbit in a matter of a few years.

At the Secure World Foundation’s Summit for Space Sustainability here last week, government and industry officials said they were concerned that proposed megaconstellations of thousands of satellites could, with similar failure rates, leave hundreds of dead satellites in low Earth orbit, a particular concern at some of the higher altitudes proposed for those systems where it can take centuries for satellites to naturally deorbit.

Matt Desch, chief executive of Iridium, dubbed dead satellites “rocks” during an on-stage interview at the conference June 26. “What if you launch 1,000 satellites, 5,000 satellites, 12,000 satellites?” he asked. “Say, 10 percent create rocks. We are creating an environment that may make LEO an environment that isn’t sustainable.”

Desch speaks from his own company’s experience. The company has emphasized reliability — it’s noted all 75 of its next-generation satellites are functioning — and sustainability, including taking first-generation satellites out of orbit within a matter of weeks once retired from the fleet.

Those first-generation satellites were designed to operate seven years, but in some cases lasted three times as long. Yet, nearly a third suffered in-orbit failures and cannot be deorbited. “We’ve created, inadvertently, using highly reliable components, almost 30 percent rocks in space that will be up there a long time,” he said.

That 30 percent failure rate is for the company’s original fleet of 95 satellites. “It freaked everybody out to launch 95 satellites” back in the 1990s, he recalled. “Now, of course, we look like slackers.”

Holger Krag, head of the space safety program office at the European Space Agency, noted in a June 25 talk at the meeting that many satellite operators aren’t adhering to guidelines that call for deorbiting satellites within 25 years after end of life. He found that only 30 percent of operators were implementing proper post-mission disposal of their spacecraft.

“This is not enough,” he said. Current trends in the growth of space objects, including satellites and debris, is little different than if operators took no measures at all to mitigate space debris. “We need to get much better.”

There was no shortage of ideas for doing so presented at the meeting, ranging from active debris removal to shortening post-mission disposal times to the use of failsafe automated deorbit systems that would remove satellites from orbit even if they suffer a mission-ending anomaly.

One speaker, Didier Alary of the University of Toulouse, suggested the creation of an “eco-tax” similar to fees charged in some countries to cover the recycling of appliances, in this case charged to satellite operators based on the number of satellites and how they adhere to sustainability guidelines. The funds collected from such taxes would go towards efforts to remove space debris.

While there wasn’t clear support for that proposal, Desch was among those calling for a regulatory regime to improve space sustainability, saying that industry likely wouldn’t be able to self-regulate. “As long as there’s a set of rules that everybody has to follow, that’s not unusual,” he said. “I think they should be international in scope and everybody has to follow them, and if you don’t, there might need to be penalties or something.”

Desch did praise SpaceX for seeking and winning Federal Communications Commission approval to operate much of its Starlink constellation at 550 kilometers, versus 1,150 kilometers as originally planned. SpaceX said it lowered the satellites to reduce latency, but at that lower altitude the satellites will naturally deorbit within five years without propulsion.

“One of the greatest moves made in the last two or three months on this whole issue is SpaceX deciding to lower its altitude,” he said, while acknowledging there were reasons beyond space sustainability for operating at a lower orbit. “I’m just thrilled they made that decision. It’s a very responsible decision.”


Source: https://spacenews.com/starlink-failures-highlight-space-sustainability-concerns/
Tytuł: Odp: [AS]SpaceX Readies First Batch of Starlink Satellites for Wednesday Night Launch
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Wrzesień 13, 2019, 08:40
SpaceX plans 24 Starlink launches next year
by Caleb Henry — September 10, 2019 [SN]

(http://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Shotwell_Gwynne_WSBW19-879x485.jpg)
SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell speaks Sept. 10 at World Satellite Business Week in Paris. Credit: SpaceNews/Brian Berger

PARIS — SpaceX hopes to launch 24 Starlink missions in 2020 as the company builds out a broadband megaconstellation that could ultimately number close to 12,000 satellites, a company executive said Sept. 10.

SpaceX’s Starlink launch cadence will likely average “two a month,” in addition to customer launches, Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s president and chief operating officer, said at the World Satellite Business Week conference here.

“Next year, I hope we launch 24 Starlinks,” Shotwell said.

Shotwell said SpaceX might launch more Starlink missions this year, but the final number will depend on customer missions. SpaceX will prioritize launching customers before its own broadband satellites, she said.

“If some customers move out, I’ll have some Starlink launches — maybe up to four Starlink launches this year — but we won’t push a customer out for that, so we will wait and see what the end of the year looks like and see what we can fit in.”

Shotwell didn’t specify if Starlink missions will be solely on Falcon 9s or if they will also include Falcon Heavy launches.

After inducing launch delays (https://spacenews.com/shotwell-on-spacex-launch-backlog-we-will-definitely-catch-up/) for customers due to Falcon 9 rocket failures in 2015 and 2016, SpaceX is now caught up on late missions — so much so that rockets are ready before customer satellites, Shotwell said.

“This is the first year that we are seeing that we are now ready to fly our customers before they are ready,” she said.

Shotwell estimated SpaceX will do seven to eight more missions this year, including Starlink. Previously, the company estimated 24 to 25 launches in 2019, but several customer missions weren’t ready in time, she said.

SpaceX has flown 10 rockets this year — eight Falcon 9s and two Falcon Heavies. Shotwell didn’t say how many total launches SpaceX plans in 2020, only that it is “much higher” than this year’s projected max of 18.

SpaceX launched its first 60 Starlink satellites in May using a Falcon 9 rocket. The company is deorbiting at least five of those satellites — three due to malfunctions and two to test intentional deorbiting procedures.

When — and with what coverage — Starlink begins service may hinge on the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s decision on a filing SpaceX made in late August (https://spacenews.com/spacex-says-more-starlink-orbits-will-speed-service-reduce-launch-needs/). SpaceX asked the FCC to allow it to triple the number of orbital planes, or pathways, for Starlink satellites at 550 kilometers. By using 72 orbital planes instead of 24, Starlink can extend its reach to customers in lower latitudes more quickly and with fewer launches, SpaceX said.

In May, prior to the filing, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said that Starlink will have consistent partial coverage with 400 satellites, and should be “economically viable (https://spacenews.com/musk-says-starlink-economically-viable-with-around-1000-satellites/)” at 1,000 satellites.

Mark Juncosa, SpaceX’s vice president of vehicle engineering, said in May that 30 Starlink launches would be sufficient for global coverage based on the company’s deployment plans at the time.


Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-plans-24-starlink-launches-next-year/
Tytuł: Odp: [AS]SpaceX Readies First Batch of Starlink Satellites for Wednesday Night Launch
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Październik 19, 2019, 22:39
SpaceX submits paperwork for 30,000 more Starlink satellites
by Caleb Henry — October 15, 2019, Updated Oct. 15 at 6:18 p.m. Eastern to include a statement from SpaceX. [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/starlink-stack.jpg)
SpaceX could one day operate 42,000 Starlink satellites if it builds and launches 30,000 in addition to the 12,000 for which it already has FCC approval. Credit: SpaceX

WASHINGTON — SpaceX has asked the International Telecommunication Union to arrange spectrum for 30,000 additional Starlink satellites.

SpaceX, which is already planning the world’s largest low-Earth-orbit broadband constellation by far, filed paperwork in recent weeks for up to 30,000 additional Starlink satellites on top of the 12,000 already approved by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

The FCC, on SpaceX’s behalf, submitted 20 filings to the ITU for 1,500 satellites apiece in various low Earth orbits, an ITU official confirmed Oct. 15 to SpaceNews.

SpaceX deployed its first 60 Starlink satellites in May and plans to launch hundreds — potentially over a thousand — more in the year ahead.

The ITU, a United Nations entity, coordinates spectrum at the international level for satellite operators to prevent signal interference and spectrum hogging. National regulators submit filing on behalf of their country’s satellite operators.

SpaceX’s ITU filings contain details about frequency usage, proposed orbital altitudes, and the number of satellites it desires. The filings do not say when SpaceX hopes to launch the satellites, or other details such as spacecraft throughput and deorbit timelines.

ITU filings are an early step in deploying a satellite system, and are often made years before a company plans to build launch spacecraft. SpaceX will be required to disclose more details about its constellation when applying with the FCC for access to the U.S. market to offer broadband services, like it did with the 12,000-satellite constellation it began launching in May.

In its filings, SpaceX said the additional 30,000 satellites would operate in low Earth orbit at altitudes ranging from 328 kilometers to 580 kilometers.

SpaceX said the satellites will have steerable spot beams to link with customers, and “omnidirectional” beams for spacecraft telemetry, tracking and control functions.

Filings trigger a seven-year deadline whereby the satellite operator, in this case SpaceX, must launch at least one satellite with its requested frequencies and operate it for 90 days. Once spectrum rights have been assigned through this “bring into use” procedure, other ventures must design their systems to avoid interference with the newly minted incumbent operator.

The ITU is expected to change its “bring into use” rules during the upcoming World Radiocommunication Conference, which takes place from Oct. 28 to Nov. 22 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Regulators intend to set more stringent rules for megaconstellation ventures, requiring them to launch percentages of their total constellation by to-be-determined deadlines in order to keep their priority spectrum rights.

It is not guaranteed that, by submitting numerous filings, SpaceX will build and launch 30,000 more satellites. Tim Farrar, a telecom analyst critical of SpaceX, tweeted that he was doubtful the ITU will be able to review such big filings in a timely manner. He sees the 20 separate filings as a SpaceX effort to “drown the ITU in studies” while proceeding with its constellation.

A SpaceX spokeperson declined to respond to Farrar’s comments, but sent SpaceNews a statement saying it “SpaceX is taking steps to responsibly scale Starlink’s total network capacity and data density to meet the growth in users’ anticipated needs.”

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs said in April that approximately 8,500 satellites, probes, landers, crewed spacecraft, cargo craft and space station flight elements have been launched into Earth orbit or beyond since 1957, when Sputnik launched. If SpaceX launches 30,000 Starlink satellites in addition to the 12,000 it already planned, the company will by itself be responsible for about a fivefold increase in the number of spacecraft launched by humanity.

Here is SpaceX’s full statement:

“As demand escalates for fast, reliable internet around the world, especially for those where connectivity is non-existent, too expensive or unreliable, SpaceX is taking steps to responsibly scale Starlink’s total network capacity and data density to meet the growth in users’ anticipated needs.”
 

Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-submits-paperwork-for-30000-more-starlink-satellites
Tytuł: Odp: [AS]SpaceX Readies First Batch of Starlink Satellites for Wednesday Night Launch
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Listopad 14, 2019, 09:06
Successful launch continues deployment of SpaceX’s Starlink network
November 11, 2019 Stephen Clark [SFN]

(https://mk0spaceflightnoa02a.kinstacdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/20191111-F9-Starlink-1-launch-Press-Site.jpeg)
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket took off from Cape Canaveral at 9:56 a.m. EST (1456 GMT) Monday. Credit: Steven Young/Spaceflight Now

Sixty upgraded satellites for SpaceX’s Starlink broadband network rocketed into orbit Monday from Florida’s Space Coast, debuting performance enhancements and notching new firsts in SpaceX’s list of rocket reuse accomplishments.

SpaceX’s second batch of Starlink satellites joined 60 previous broadband-beaming spacecraft in orbit after deployment from a Falcon 9 rocket Monday, adding to a network that may eventually include thousands of satellites broadcasting high-speed Internet signals from space.

The 229-foot-tall (70-meter) Falcon 9 climbed away from Cape Canaveral’s Complex 40 launch pad at 9:56 a.m. EST (1456 GMT), turned toward the northeast and soared through scattered clouds on a gorgeous Veterans Day morning.

Nine kerosene-fueled Merlin 1D engines powered the Falcon 9 with 1.7 million pounds of thrust, sending the rocket into the sky with a thundering sendoff. It was the first launch to take off from a Cape Canaveral launch pad since Aug. 22, and SpaceX’s first satellite launch since Aug. 6.

The Falcon 9’s first stage shut down and detached from the rocket’s second stage around two-and-a-half minutes into the flight. Moments later, the Falcon 9’s second stage lit its single Merlin powerplant to propel itself into orbit with the Starlink payloads, then the rocket’s nose cone opened and fell away, revealing the Starlink satellites after transiting through the thick, lower layers of the atmosphere.

The first stage booster returned to a propulsive landing on SpaceX’s drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You” holding position around 400 miles (650 kilometers) downrange from Cape Canaveral in the Atlantic Ocean, roughly due east of Charleston, South Carolina. The rocket completed its fourth mission, following three previous launches and landings — two last year, and one in February that helped loft into space an Indonesian communications satellite and the Israeli Beresheet moon lander.


Cytuj
Spaceflight Now@SpaceflightNow 4:23 PM - Nov 11, 2019
Here’s a replay of the Falcon 9’s first stage coming in for landing this morning on SpaceX’s drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You” in the Atlantic Ocean east of Charleston, South Carolina. Continuing coverage: https://spaceflightnow.com/2019/11/11/falcon-9-starlink-1-mission-status-center-2/ …
Twitter (https://twitter.com/SpaceflightNow/status/1193912115553341440?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1193912115553341440&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fspaceflightnow.com%2F2019%2F11%2F11%2Fsuccessful-launch-continues-deployment-of-spacexs-starlink-network%2F)


Monday’s launch was the first time SpaceX flew a Falcon 9 booster on a fourth mission. It also marked another first for SpaceX, which demonstrated its capability to reuse a payload fairing recovered from a previous launch.

The bulbous payload shroud protects satellites during the first few minutes of flight, then drops away from the rocket in two halves. The fairing halves flown Monday originally launched on a Falcon Heavy mission April 11, then parachuted into the Atlantic Ocean, where SpaceX teams pulled them from the sea for inspections, refurbishment and reuse.

SpaceX planned to attempt to catch both fairing halves with two specially-outfitted boats Monday. But managers ordered the ships to port due to concerns about rough seas.

SpaceX now has two fairing recovery ships in its fleet, both equipped with giant nets to catch composite fairing halves as they gently fall to the sea under parachutes. The fairings also carry cold gas thrusters to control their descent.

On previous missions, SpaceX has tried to catch one fairing half using a single boat. The company successfully caught one piece of the fairing for the first time after a July 25 launch of a Falcon Heavy rocket.

Pursuing the prime objective of Monday’s mission, the Falcon 9’s second stage engine switched off about nine minutes after launch, and the rocket coasted over Europe and the Middle East before reigniting its engine at around 10:41 a.m. EST (1541 GMT) to circularize its orbit. The Falcon 9 aimed for an altitude of around 174 miles (280 kilometers) for deployment of the Starlink satellites, and a member of SpaceX’s launch team confirmed the rocket achieved an on-target orbit.

The Falcon 9 sent commands at 10:56 a.m. EST (1546 GMT) to release retention pins holding the Starlink satellites to the launcher, and live video from a camera on-board the rocket showed the 60 flat-panel spacecraft receding in the blackness of space.


(https://mk0spaceflightnoa02a.kinstacdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/f9_starlink.jpg)
Sixty Starlink satellites separated from the Falcon 9 rocket about one hour after launch Monday. The spacecraft deployed in one piece, then will disperse over the coming hours and days. Credit: SpaceX

The satellites, but at a SpaceX facility in Redmond, Washington, are designed to gradually disperse over the coming hours and days. Ion thrusters fed by krypton fuel will maneuver the satellites into operational 341-mile-high (550-kilometer) orbits inclined 53 degrees to the equator.

SpaceX says 1,440 of the satellites are needed to provide Internet service over the “populated world,” a service level the company says could be achieved after 24 launches.

The Starlink network could offer service for northern parts of the United States and Canada after six launches, according to SpaceX.

SpaceX could launch thousands more Starlink satellites if merited by market demand. The Federal Communications Commission has authorized SpaceX to operate nearly 12,000 Starlink satellites broadcasting in Ku-band, Ka-band and V-band frequencies, with groups of spacecraft positioned at different altitudes and in various planes in low Earth orbit.

Documents filed with the International Telecommunication Union last month suggested SpaceX could add another 30,000 Starlink satellites to the network, growing its total size to 42,000 spacecraft.

The Starlink network is rapidly becoming a core business area for SpaceX, which is competing with companies like OneWeb and Amazon’s Project Kuiper to deploy fleets of thousands of small satellites in low Earth orbit to beam broadband Internet signals from space to users around the world.

Developers of the so-called “mega-constellations” in low Earth orbit say their networks offer key advantages over traditional satellite Internet architectures, which relay on satellites in higher orbits, where radio transmissions — even traveling at the speed of light — take longer to reach.


(https://mk0spaceflightnoa02a.kinstacdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/starlinknetwork.jpg)
Artist’s illustration of the distribution of satellites in SpaceX’s Starlink network. Credit: SpaceX

SpaceX has launched more satellites than either of its chief competitors — Amazon has not yet launched any — and the spacecraft that lifted off Monday will introduce new capabilities to the Starlink network.

“Since the most recent launch of Starlink satellites in May, SpaceX has increased spectrum capacity for the end user through upgrades in design that maximize the use of both Ka- and Ku-bands,” SpaceX wrote in a press kit for Monday’s launch. “Additionally, components of each satellite are 100% demisable and will quickly burn up in Earth’s atmosphere at the end of their life cycle — a measure that exceeds all current safety standards.”

SpaceX said the new Starlink spacecraft design can provide a 400 percent increase in data throughout per satellite, and each satellite carries double the number of steerable phased array broadband beams than on earlier Starlink platforms.

The first 60 Starlink satellites, which launched May 23 (https://spaceflightnow.com/2019/05/24/spacexs-first-60-starlink-broadband-satellites-deployed-in-orbit/), carried only Ku-band antennas. At the time, SpaceX said 95 percent of the materials in each of the first 60 satellites would burn up in the atmosphere after their missions were complete.

Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s president and chief operating officer, said last month that the company plans to begin launching Starlink spacecraft equipped with inter-satellite laser crosslinks some time mid-to-late next year.

Three of the 60 satellites launched in May have stopped communicating with ground controllers, but SpaceX officials say they are pleased with the overall performance of the initial block of Starlink spacecraft.

The U.S. Air Force is testing Internet connections between aircraft and SpaceX’s Starlink satellites to evaluate the network’s suitability for future military use, and Elon Musk, SpaceX’s founder and CEO, said he sent a tweet last month through a Starlink satellite.

“We still have ways to go from tweets to 4K cat videos, but we are on our way,” joked Lauren Lyons, a SpaceX engineer who hosted the company’s webcast of Monday’s launch.

Skywatchers with clear skies at twilight could see the Starlink satellites passing overhead in a train-like formation after Monday’s launch, similar to observations of the first 60 satellites following their launch in May.

The satellites reflected more sunlight than expected, creating a shimmering spectacle and sometimes flaring to be as bright as the brightest stars in the sky. The satellites appeared to dim over time, and observations became less frequent as they spread out in their orbital plane.

The bright satellites drew the ire of many astronomers, who worried the addition of thousands of similarly-bright satellites could interfere with scientific observations using ground-based telescopes.

The Royal Astronomical Society said in June that the large number of broadband satellites proposed by SpaceX, Amazon, OneWeb and Telesat “presents a challenge to ground-based astronomy.”

“The deployed networks could make it much harder to obtain images of the sky without the streaks associated with satellites, and thus compromise astronomical research,” the society said in a statement.

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory, funded by the National Science Foundation, said in May it was working with SpaceX to “jointly analyze and minimize any potential impacts” on astronomical observations caused by radio transmissions coming from the Starlink satellites.

“These discussions have been fruitful and are providing valuable guidelines that could be considered by other such systems as well,” the NRAO said in a statement. “To date, SpaceX has demonstrated their respect for our concerns and their support for astronomy.”

The NRAO said it continued to monitor, analyze and discuss the “evolving parameters” of the Starlink system. The NRAO identified several proposals under consideration, including exclusion zones and other mitigations around the National Science Foundation’s current and future radio astronomy facilities.

SpaceX says it is actively working with leading astronomy groups from around the world to make sure their work is not affected by the Starlink satellites. Engineers are taking steps to make the base of future Starlink satellites black to “help mitigate impacts on the astronomy community,” SpaceX said.

But SpaceX says satellites launched Monday do not incorporate the change.

SpaceX says it will adjust Starlink orbits should it be necessary for extremely sensitive space science observations, and the company has touted the ability of its next-generation Starship vehicle to send giant astronomical telescopes into space.

“We have also proactively reached out to leading astronomy groups from around the world to discuss the Starlink mission profile, scientifically assess the impacts on astronomy activities and evaluate any helpful mitigations moving forward,” a SpaceX official said.


Source: https://spaceflightnow.com/2019/11/11/successful-launch-continues-deployment-of-spacexs-starlink-network/
Tytuł: Odp: [AS]SpaceX Readies First Batch of Starlink Satellites for Wednesday Night Launch
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Grudzień 09, 2019, 09:57
SpaceX working on fix for Starlink satellites so they don’t disrupt astronomy
by Sandra Erwin — December 7, 2019 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/49051988851_773f06494a_k-879x485.jpg)
Starlink launch Nov. 11, 2019. Credit: SpaceX

President and COO Gwynne Shotwell said the Starlink brightness problem caught the company by surprise

LOS ANGELES — One of the Starlink satellites in the next batch of 60 that SpaceX plans to launch in late December will be treated with a special coating designed to make the spacecraft less reflective and less likely to interfere with space observations, SpaceX president and chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell said Dec. 6.

“We are going to get it done,” Shotwell said during a meeting with reporters at SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne.

SpaceX already has deployed 120 satellites that beam high-speed internet, and thousands more will be launched (https://spacenews.com/spacex-launches-second-batch-of-starlink-broadband-satellites/) over the next few years. Soon after the first launch in May, astronomers noted that the satellites were extremely bright, prompting concerns that the constellation will interfere (https://www.newscientist.com/article/2223962-spacexs-starlink-satellites-are-interfering-with-astronomy-again/) with scientific research and views of the night sky.

Shotwell said the next batch has one satellite “where we put a coating on the bottom.” She noted that this is just an experiment and could not predict if it will work. “We’re do trial and error to figure out the best way to get this done,” said Shotwell.

Since reports first surfaced of Starlink satellites disrupting astronomers, the company has taken the problem seriously, Shotwell insisted. “We want to make sure we do the right thing to make sure little kids can look through their telescope,” she said. “Astronomy is one of the few things that gets little kids excited about space.”

When people look through their telescopes, “it’s cool for them to see a Starlink. But they should be looking at Saturn, at the moon. .. and not want to be interrupted.”

The coating that is being applied to one of the satellites in the third batch of Starlinks is just the first step toward finding a permanent solution as more satellites get deployed. Shotwell said the company plans to launch batches of 60 satellites every two to three weeks over the next year to build the constellation that by mid 2020 will be ready to provide global coverage.

Shotwell admitted that nobody in the company anticipated the problem when the satellites were first designed.

“No one thought of this,” she said. “We didn’t think of it. The astronomy community didn’t think of it.”

The experimental coating that would make the satellite less reflective could affect its performance, so that is something that will be examined, said Shotwell. “It definitely changes the performance of the satellite, thermally. It’ll be some trial and error but we’ll fix it.”


Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-working-on-fix-for-starlink-satellites-so-they-dont-disrupt-astronomy/
Tytuł: Odp: [AS]SpaceX Readies First Batch of Starlink Satellites for Wednesday Night Launch
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Styczeń 09, 2020, 00:31
SpaceX becomes operator of world’s largest commercial satellite constellation with Starlink launch
by Caleb Henry — January 6, 2020 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/rsz_screen_shot_2020-01-06_at_102109_pm-879x485.jpg)
SpaceX launched its third large batch of Starlink satellites Jan. 6 on a Falcon 9 rocket. Credit: SpaceX webcast.

WASHINGTON — SpaceX launched 60 of its own Starlink broadband satellites on a Falcon 9 rocket Jan. 6, becoming the operator of the world’s largest commercial satellite constellation.

The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 9:19 p.m. Eastern from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on SpaceX’s first launch of the year. The company’s 60 Starlink satellites, built to provide high-speed internet, separated from the rocket’s upper stage about an hour later.

SpaceX launched the satellites to a 290-kilometer orbit where the company will perform checkouts before raising them to their final 550-kilometer orbit.

SpaceX’s fairing-catcher ship “Ms. Tree” was unsuccessful in netting a fairing half after the launch.

The rocket’s first stage landed on the drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You” in the Atlantic Ocean, completing its fourth mission. SpaceX used this same booster to launch 60 Starlink satellites to low Earth orbit in May 2019, 10 Iridium Next satellites for Iridium in January 2019, and Telesat Canada’s Telstar 18 Vantage geostationary satellite in September 2018.

SpaceX has now launched 182 satellites for Starlink, counting two prototypes the company orbited nearly two years ago.

It’s not clear if all 182 Starlink satellites will be part of the constellation SpaceX expects to begin service with later this year. Some 10 satellites from SpaceX’s May 2019 Starlink launch never reached their final operational orbit, according to a Jan. 2 report from Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who tracks satellite movements.

SpaceX said in July that three Starlink satellites had failed shortly after launch, and that another two healthy satellites would be intentionally deorbited as practice. The company did not respond to a SpaceNews inquiry Jan. 6 as to why 10 satellites have not reached their target orbit instead of five.

Regardless of if Starlink has 172 or 182 satellites, SpaceX still eclipses Planet, which has a constellation of 150 remote-sensing satellites, as the record holder for the world’s largest commercial satellite constellation.

SpaceX is deploying its first 1,584 satellites at 550 kilometers to accelerate service rollout and reduce the risk of creating orbital debris. At that altitude, any Starlink satellites that fail would naturally deorbit from atmospheric drag within 25 years — a guideline suggested by NASA and other space agencies.

One of the 60 satellites launched tonight was given a “darkening treatment” to make it less reflective. Shotwell told reporters last month that SpaceX is experimenting with different ways to make Starlink satellites less reflective so they don’t interfere with ground-based astronomy.

In December, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission approved a SpaceX request to fan out its Starlink satellites in more 550-kilometer orbits — a modification SpaceX says will enable the company to expand Starlink’s coverage to populated areas more rapidly.

SpaceX anticipated conducting up to six Starlink launches in 2019, but ended the year having done just two. Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s president and chief operating officer, said in September that the company planned to do 24 Starlink launches in 2020, each presumably carrying 60 satellites.

SpaceX is building and launching up to 12,000 Starlink satellites, and has filed regulatory paperwork with the United Nations’ International Telecommunications Union for another 30,000 satellites.

Other companies are also planning large constellations of internet satellites, but none as large as SpaceX. OneWeb is planning a constellation of 1,980 satellites, Amazon is preparing for a 3,236-satellite constellation, and Telesat is designing a roughly 300-satellite broadband network.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said in May that Starlink would be “economically viable” at 1,000 satellites. He said reaching 12,000 satellites would be a “very successful outcome” for Starlink.


Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-becomes-operator-of-worlds-largest-commercial-satellite-constellation-with-starlink-launch/
Tytuł: Odp: [AS]SpaceX Readies First Batch of Starlink Satellites for Wednesday Night Launch
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Styczeń 09, 2020, 00:32
SpaceX launches more Starlink satellites, tests design change for astronomers
January 7, 2020 Stephen Clark [SFN]

(https://mk0spaceflightnoa02a.kinstacdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/f9starlink2_streak1.jpg)
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket streaks downrange to the northeast from Cape Canaveral Monday night with 60 Starlink satellites for the company’s planned global Internet network. Credit: SpaceX

Sixty more satellites for SpaceX’s Starlink global Internet network streaked into orbit Monday night from Cape Canaveral, including one spacecraft to test an experimental dark coating to address scientists’ concerns that the thousands of the quarter-ton, flat-panel satellites will impede astronomical observations.

The launch of 60 more spacecraft for the Starlink project, which SpaceX sees as a core business area in the coming years, makes the company the operator of the largest fleet of commercial satellites, surpassing the previous mark set by Planet (https://spaceflightnow.com/2020/01/06/stacking-of-ulas-next-atlas-5-rocket-begins-at-cape-canaveral/), an operator of Earth-imaging nanosatellites.

SpaceX wants to begin limited Internet service through the Starlink network later this year, then expand to global service to beam Internet signals to consumers in far-flung locales outside the reach of terrestrial wired broadband connections. Users on airplanes, ships and the U.S. military could also be Starlink customers.

Blazing a similar trail to two previous Starlink satellite launches last year, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from pad 40 at Cape Canaveral at 9:19:21 p.m. EST Monday (0219:21 GMT Tuesday) and turned on a northeasterly heading over the Atlantic Ocean.

Nine kerosene-fueled Merlin 1D engines on the base of the first stage powered the rocket off the launch pad with 1.7 million pounds of thrust.

After two-and-a-half minutes, the nine main engines shut down and the first stage separated to begin descent maneuvers toward a landing on SpaceX’s drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You” in the Atlantic Ocean.

The first stage — flying for the fourth time on Monday night’s mission — nailed its landing on the drone ship, marking the 48th time SpaceX has successfully landed a Falcon booster since the company’s first rocket recovery in 2015. An attempt to catch one half of the Falcon 9’s clamshell-like payload fairing in a net fastened to an ocean-going vessel was unsuccessful, SpaceX said.

The Falcon 9’s second stage ignited its Merlin engine two times to place the 60 Starlink satellites into an orbit with a target altitude of 180 miles (290 kilometers) and an inclination of 53 degrees to the equator. SpaceX confirmed the Falcon 9 injected the payloads close to the planned orbit.

Retention rods holding the 60 flat-panel Starlink spacecraft to the Falcon 9 rocket released at 10:20 p.m. EST (0320 GMT) to allow separation of the satellites.

An on-board camera view showed the 60 satellites deploy from the Falcon 9’s second stage. The Starlink relay stations were expected to begin dispersing in the coming days, while SpaceX control teams perform tests and activate the satellites’ krypton-fed ion thrusters to begin maneuvering toward their planned operating altitude of 341 miles (550 kilometers).

The launch Monday kicked off a brisk pace of launches by SpaceX planned for 2020 (https://spaceflightnow.com/2019/12/20/spacex-poised-to-accelerate-launch-cadence-with-series-of-starlink-missions/).

Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s president and chief operating officer, said last month the company could perform as many as 35 to 38 launches this year from three launch pads in Florida and California. That figure does not include potential test flights of SpaceX’s next-generation Starship vehicle.

The bulk of SpaceX’s missions in 2020 will add satellites to the company’s Starlink constellation of broadband satellites.

SpaceX plans to operate the initial block of 1,584 Starlink satellites in orbits 341 miles above Earth. The company has regulatory approval from the Federal Communications Commission to eventually field a fleet of up to 12,000 small Starlink broadband stations, and has hinted in additional regulatory filings that it could seek to operate up to 42,000 Starlink spacecraft.

In response to concerns from astronomers, Shotwell said one of the 60 satellites set for launch Monday will test a new less-reflective coating (https://spaceflightnow.com/2019/12/09/spacex-to-experiment-with-less-reflective-satellite-coatings-on-next-starlink-launch/) designed to reduce the brightness of the spacecraft. The first 120 satellites were brighter than expected, raising worries from scientists that thousands of Starlink craft could interfere with astronomical observations.

The satellites are especially bright soon after launch, when they are bunched together and flying at lower altitudes.


(https://mk0spaceflightnoa02a.kinstacdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/f9starlink2_quick2.jpg)
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket lifts off Monday night. Credit: Steven Young/Spaceflight Now

“During orbit raise, the satellites are closely clustered together and their solar arrays are positioned in a special low-drag configuration, making the satellites appear visible from the ground just after deployment,” said Lauren Lyons, a SpaceX engineer who co-hosted the company’s webcast of Monday night’s launch. “However, once the satellites reach their operational altitude and begin on-station service, their orientation changes and the satellites become significantly less visible.

“While it’s really cool to catch a glimpse of those satellites from the ground, they can sometimes be a distraction for astronomers,” Lyons said. “So on this flight, Starlink is testing an experimental darkening treatment on one satellite in order to further reduce the light reflection off the satellites.”

SpaceX is seeking to strike a balance between astronomers’ concerns and the company’s ambitions for the Starlink network. Skywatchers will gauge the effectiveness of the new experimental coating to determine if it reduces the reflectivity of the satellite, and SpaceX wants to ensure the treatment does not impact the performance of the spacecraft.

“We also make satellite tracking data available to astronomers so they can better coordinate their observations with our satellites,” Lyons said. “These measures, along with our work with leading astronomy groups, will enable SpaceX to bring Internet access to underserved and unserved populations around the world without materially impacting the use of the night sky.”

SpaceX says it hopes to begin regional broadband service to Canada and the northern United States with the partially-complete Starlink constellation by the middle of this year, once it has launched 12 Starlink missions. Starlink service for Internet consumers worldwide will come after 24 launches, according to Shotwell.

“Twelve launches gets us connectivity with no gaps down to a latitude of roughly 25 degrees … And then 24 missions gets us global coverage with no data gaps,” Shotwell said last month. “So what’s preventing us from providing service? Getting the right number of satellites up in orbit. We will start offering service (mid-2020) because we have those 12 launches.”


(https://mk0spaceflightnoa02a.kinstacdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/starlinknetwork.jpg)
Artist’s illustration of the distribution of satellites in SpaceX’s Starlink network. Credit: SpaceX
SpaceX has not announced pricing for the Starlink service.


“All I know is you will be far happier with the value of the Starlink service than you are with your current service,” Shotwell said in December. “You will, for sure, get way more bandwidth for the same price, or way more bandwidth for less … You’ll be far happier with this. The value will be far greater (than with current Internet service providers).”

She said SpaceX is building about seven Starlink satellites per day at a factory in Redmond, Washington. Low-volume production of SpaceX’s ground user terminals is also underway in California, Shotwell said.

SpaceX is still working out its strategy for commencing Starlink commercial services.

“Between now and June … we’re going to have to figure that out,” Shotwell said last month. “We will do presales like Tesla has done. The initial experience will be bumpy. We’ll have early customers be part of that journey with us. We’re not going to fib and say it’s going to be the best thing ever. When you get service, it’s going to be great. But it will be bumpy for a while.

The U.S. military has a contract with SpaceX to demonstrate the Starlink network’s ability to deliver data to the cockpit of airplanes, the first of what SpaceX hopes will be a lucrative business selling bandwidth to the Defense Department.

“I think we probably will mature as a provider, and it should not be bumpy, really in ’21. By ’21, I think we probably will have figured out most of the problems.”

SpaceX is gearing up for at least one more Starlink launch from Cape Canaveral using a Falcon 9 rocket later this month.

But first, the company’s Florida team will perform an in-flight test of the abort system the Crew Dragon commercial crew capsule on the ship’s final demonstration launch before NASA clears SpaceX to launch astronauts to the International Space Station.

The Crew Dragon in-flight abort test will take off from pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center aboard a modified Falcon 9 rocket. Once it reaches the stratosphere, the crew capsule — flying without astronauts this time — will trigger its launch escape engines to propel itself away from the Falcon 9, verifying the ship’s ability to carry crews away from a failing rocket.


Source: https://spaceflightnow.com/2020/01/07/spacex-launches-more-starlink-satellites-tests-design-change-for-astronomers/
Tytuł: Odp: [AS]SpaceX Readies First Batch of Starlink Satellites for Wednesday Night Launch
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Styczeń 10, 2020, 05:39
SpaceX, astronomers working to address brightness of Starlink satellites
by Jeff Foust — January 8, 2020 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Starlink-Screenshot-879x485.png)
SpaceX says it's committed to reducing the brightness of its Starlink satellites, but while it works on that the company will continue to launch unmodified satellites. Credit: SpaceX

HONOLULU — SpaceX says it’s committed to working with the astronomy community to address the brightness of its Starlink satellites, but some astronomers remain concerned about the deleterious effect that system and other megaconstellations will have on their field.

One of the 60 satellites in the latest Starlink launch Jan. 6 featured an experimental coating intended to reduce its brightness. SpaceX said it will see in the coming weeks how well those coatings work, as well as study any effects they have on the performance of the satellite itself, before deciding how to move forward.

“Our level of brightness and visibility was a surprise to us,” said Patricia Cooper, vice president of satellite government affairs for SpaceX, during a Jan. 8 special session on the topic of megaconstellation effects on astronomy during the 235th Meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) here. SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell also said last month that SpaceX was surprised by the brightness of the satellites.

Cooper said that brightness is affected by several issues. The Starlink satellites initially appear bright when released in a lower parking orbit, and the configuration of each satellites’ single large solar array when raising its orbit can also influence its brightness. Once in a final operating orbit of 550 kilometers, the spacecraft brightness decreases to a visual magnitude of about five, making them visible to the naked eye only in darker night skies.

One challenge, she said, is the unique design of the satellite made it difficult to determine exactly what causes the spacecraft to reflect so much light. “It turns out, we think, that surfaces that scatter light, or reflect light diffusely, are also significant contributors,” she said. That led to the testing of surfaces on the experimental satellite, nicknamed “DarkSat” by some, to reduce that reflectivity.

While DarkSat is now in orbit, it will take some time to see how effective it is. Patrick Seitzer, an astronomer at the University of Michigan who is studying the effect of satellite constellations on optical astronomy, said at a later press conference that the satellite likely won’t reach its operational orbit until late February. “Then serious measurements can begin,” he said.

Cooper said that SpaceX would work quickly to reduce the brightness of its satellites, but didn’t give a specific timetable or state if other experimental satellites are in the works. In the meantime, the company will continue to launch the original design of Starlink satellites that are designed to be operational for five years, a plan that some astronomers at the meeting criticized.

“We don’t know yet if these mitigations are useful and effective,” she said. “We tend to work very quickly. We tend to test, learn and iterate.”

SpaceX has been meeting with a committee of the AAS to discuss the astronomy community’s concerns about Starlink and to examine ways to mitigate them. That work has included a half-dozen teleconferences and an in-person meeting during this AAS conference, said Jeff Hall, director of Lowell Observatory and chair of the AAS committee.

“We have not had to cajole SpaceX in any way. They’ve been very receptive and very proactive,” he said. Those discussions, he said, initially focused on SpaceX’s Starlink deployment plans, but more recently have been more just “keeping in touch” as SpaceX prepared to launch its experimental DarkSat.

Hall added that it was premature to discuss regulations regarding satellite brightness. “Regulation of the Wild West up there is necessary, but that is going to take a great deal of time to implement,” he said, while the problem posed by Starlink and other constellations is a near-term issue that needs to be addressed now.

Hall and other astronomers said that, like SpaceX, they were surprised by how bright the Starlink satellites appeared. “What surprised everyone — the astronomy community and SpaceX — was how bright their satellites are,” Seitzer said. “We knew these tens of thousands of megaconstellations were coming, but based on the sizes and shapes of things currently in orbit, I thought they’d be maybe eighth or ninth magnitude. We were not expecting second or third magnitude.”

Both astronomers and SpaceX said they hope, as an initial step to get the Starlink satellites dim enough to not be visible to the naked eye even in the darkest skies. The next step will be to figure out what else can be done to mitigate their effects on major observatories, specifically the Vera Rubin Observatory (formerly Large Synoptic Survey Telescope) under construction in Chile. Astronomers said that wide-field telescope was particularly threatened by Starlink and other megaconstellation satellites.

Hall said his AAS committee plans to start discussions with OneWeb later this month, shortly before the company begins full-scale deployment of its constellation. Six OneWeb demonstration satellites are currently in orbit, at altitudes higher than SpaceX. Seitzer said the satellites, at about eighth magnitude, are too dim to be seen by the naked eye, but pose in some cases greater concerns to professional astronomers than Starlink satellites because, at their altitudes, they may be visible all night during the summer, rather than just around sunset and sunrise.

With SpaceX seeking to deploy up to 1,500 Starlink satellites in 2020 alone, and with OneWeb and other constellations under development, astronomers warned this was a major issue to them. “The issue of megaconstellations and astronomy is a serious issue,” Seitzer said. “We have a very short time to deal with this issue.”


Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-astronomers-working-to-address-brightness-of-starlink-satellites/
Tytuł: Odp: [AS]SpaceX Readies First Batch of Starlink Satellites for Wednesday Night Launch
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Styczeń 30, 2020, 22:58
SpaceX boosts 60 more Starlink satellites into orbit after weather delays
January 29, 2020 Stephen Clark [SFN]

(https://mk0spaceflightnoa02a.kinstacdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/IMG_8216-copy.jpg)
A Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 9:06:49 a.m. EST (1406:49 GMT) Wednesday with 60 Starlink Internet satellites. Credit: Stephen Clark / Spaceflight Now

After waiting more than a week for good weather, SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket Wednesday from Cape Canaveral with 60 more satellites for the company’s Starlink Internet network, continuing to build out a fleet of fleet of orbiting broadband relay stations that could eventually number in the thousands.

The 229-foot-tall (70-meter) Falcon 9 rocket fired up at 9:06:49 a.m. EST (1406:49 GMT) Wednesday and climbed away from from Cape Canaveral’s Complex 40 launch pad. An incandescent flame from the rocket’s nine Merlin 1D main engines — collectively generating 1.7 million pounds of thrust — trailed more than 20 stories behind the launcher.

A roar from the Falcon 9’s engines reached spectators a few seconds later as the rocket arced toward the northeast into clear skies over Florida’s Space Coast.

The liftoff Wednesday came after a series of weather delays since last week. After performing a standard pre-launch test-firing of the rocket, SpaceX pushed back the launch from Jan. 21 to Jan. 24, then to Monday, Jan. 27, to wait for improved weather conditions in the Atlantic Ocean, where SpaceX stationed ships to retrieve the first stage and payload fairing from the Falcon 9 rocket.

SpaceX scrubbed a launch attempt Monday due to strong upper level winds, then bypassed a launch opportunity Tuesday, again wait for better weather in the downrange recovery area.

Weather conditions at Cape Canaveral appeared ideal for a launch Wednesday, and SpaceX’s 80th Falcon 9 flight put on a spectacular show.

Two-and-a-half minutes after liftoff, the rocket’s first stage shut down its engines and dropped away from the Falcon 9’s second stage. Seconds later, the upper stage’s single Merlin engine — modified with an enlarged nozzle for better performance in space — ignited to accelerate the 60 Starlink satellites into orbit.

The Falcon 9 jettisoned its clamshell-like payload fairing nearly three-and-a-half minutes into the mission.

Flying tail first, the rocket’s first stage booster reignited three of its nine engines to guide it toward SpaceX’s drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You” positioned around 400 miles (630 kilometers) northeast of Cape Canaveral. A final landing burn using the center engine slowed the booster for a controlled vertical touchdown on the football field-sized barge, marking the 49th time SpaceX has recovered one of its rockets intact.


Cytuj
Spaceflight Now @SpaceflightNow 4:25 PM - Jan 29, 2020

Here’s a replay of the Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage landing on a SpaceX vessel in the Atlantic Ocean roughly 400 miles northeast of Cape Canaveral this morning. This was the third flight of this particular booster from three different launch pads. https://spaceflightnow.com/2020/01/27/falcon-9-starlink-3-mission-status-center-2/ …

Twitter (https://twitter.com/SpaceflightNow/status/1222541269186105345?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1222541269186105345&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fspaceflightnow.com%2F2020%2F01%2F29%2Fspacex-boosts-60-more-starlink-satellites-into-orbit-after-weather-delays%2F)

The booster flown Wednesday was making its third trip to space, following successful launches and landings in March 2019 and June 2019 on flights carrying SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft and Canada’s Radarsat Constellation Mission. With Wednesday’s mission, the booster has launched from all three of SpaceX’s active launch pads in Florida and California.

The two halves of the Falcon 9’s payload shroud used cold gas thrusters to maneuver into the proper orientation for descent, then unfurled parafoils for a gentle fall toward the Atlantic Ocean. SpaceX’s two fast-moving fairing recovery boats — named “Ms. Tree and “Ms. Chief” — tried to catch both halves of the Falcon 9’s aerodynamic fairing.

SpaceX confirmed Ms. Tree caught one side of the shroud in a giant net. Ms. Chief, equipped with a similar net, failed to snag the other half of the fairing before it fell into the sea, but teams were expected to pull the hardware from the ocean for inspections and refurbishment.


(https://mk0spaceflightnoa02a.kinstacdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/f9_fairing_catch.jpg)
SpaceX’s recovery boat “Ms. Tree” caught one half of the Falcon 9 rocket’s two-piece payload fairing after Wednesday’s launch. Credit: SpaceX

While SpaceX’s teams in the Atlantic were busy recovering pieces of the Falcon 9 rocket for reuse, the launcher’s upper stage — which is not reusable — fired its engine two times to place the 60 Starlink satellites into a targeted 180-mile-high (290-kilometer) orbit inclined 53 degrees to the equator.

SpaceX said the rocket did its job placing the satellites into the proper orbit, and live video from the Falcon 9’s second stage showed the 60 flat-panel satellites separating from the launch vehicle as it flew south of Australia about one hour after liftoff from Cape Canaveral.

The spacecraft were expected to extend their power-generating solar panels, and krypton ion thrusters on each satellite will begin raising their orbits to an altitude of around 341 miles (550 kilometers), where SpaceX intends to operate its first 1,584 Starlink platforms to provide worldwide Internet service.



Cytuj
Spaceflight Now @SpaceflightNow 4:17 PM - Jan 29, 2020
Here’s a video of SpaceX’s 60 latest Starlink Internet satellites separating from a Falcon 9 rocket as it flew in orbit south of Australia. https://spaceflightnow.com/2020/01/27/falcon-9-starlink-3-mission-status-center-2/ …
Twitter (https://twitter.com/SpaceflightNow/status/1222541269186105345?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1222541269186105345&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fspaceflightnow.com%2F2020%2F01%2F29%2Fspacex-boosts-60-more-starlink-satellites-into-orbit-after-weather-delays%2F)

The Starlink satellites, built at a SpaceX facility in Redmond, Washington, filled the volume of the Falcon 9’s payload fairing. Each satellite weighs around 573 pounds, or 260 kilograms, and the Starlink craft stacked together form the heaviest payload SpaceX has ever launched.

With Wednesday’s launch, SpaceX has deployed 240 Starlink satellites on four dedicated missions since last May. That makes SpaceX the owner of the world’s largest fleet of commercial satellites.

SpaceX, founded by billionaire Elon Musk, has regulatory approval from the Federal Communications Commission to eventually field a fleet of up to 12,000 small Starlink broadband stations. But SpaceX has said the size of the Starlink fleet will grow with demand after the company launches its initial block of 1,584 satellites.

SpaceX says 24 launches are needed to provide global broadband service through the Starlink service. But the company could provide an interim level of service over parts of the Earth later this year, once SpaceX has launched around 720 satellites on 12 Falcon 9 flights.

Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s president and chief operating officer, told reporters in December that the Redmond factory was producing as many as seven satellites per day.

“Because Starlink satellites fly in a global constellation, we can bring high-speed Internet to places that previously had terrible service or no service at all,” said Lauren Lyons, a SpaceX engineer who provided commentary on SpaceX’s webcast of Wednesday’s mission. “Some of the most exciting opportunities for Starlink are rural or remote locations where traditional fiber or cable just isn’t practical.”

Cruise ships, airplanes and the U.S. military are also likely customers of Starlink services.

SpaceX has not announced a price for the Starlink service, or downlink and uplink speeds customers can expect through the network.

“Building a constellation that can provide this level of service is incredibly challenging, but we are making steady progress toward that goal with every Starlink launch,” Lyons said.


(https://mk0spaceflightnoa02a.kinstacdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/starlink3_stack.jpg)
A view of the 60 Starlink satellites stacked before Wednesday’s launch. Credit: SpaceX

Scientists have raised concerns that thousands of Starlink satellites in low Earth orbit could interfere with astronomical observations. The Starlink spacecraft launched last year were more visible from the ground than predicted, prompting criticism from some scientists and amateur astronomers.

The satellites are especially bright soon after launch, when they are bunched together and flying at lower altitudes.

SpaceX debuted an experimental darkening treatment on one of the Starlink satellites launched Jan. 6, but none of the 60 satellites delivered to orbit Wednesday have the darker coating, which is aimed at minimizing reflectivity of sunlight down to the ground.

“It takes a few weeks for those satellites to reach their final orbit destination, so we don’t have the results of that DarkSat experiment just yet, but we’ll be sure to share what we’ve learned as the data becomes available,” Lyons said.

With Wednesday’s launch, SpaceX has sent 120 Starlink satellites into orbit on two Falcon 9 missions just this month. At least one Starlink launch with approximately 60 additional satellites is scheduled in February on another Falcon 9 rocket.

More than half of SpaceX’s 35 to 38  launches scheduled in 2020 will carry Starlink satellites, Shotwell said last month.


Source: https://spaceflightnow.com/2020/01/29/spacex-boosts-60-more-starlink-satellites-into-orbit-after-weather-delays/
Tytuł: Odp: [AS]SpaceX Readies First Batch of Starlink Satellites for Wednesday Night Launch
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Styczeń 30, 2020, 23:23
SpaceX launches fourth batch of Starlink satellites, tweaks satellite design
by Caleb Henry — January 29, 2020 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Starlink-4-Jan.-2020-879x485.png)
SpaceX has launched 242 Starlink satellites, counting two demo spacecraft, but not all will be used for broadband service. Credit: SpaceX webcast

WASHINGTON — SpaceX completed its second Starlink launch of the month Jan. 29, conforming to a target cadence the company set last year to launch two dedicated Starlink missions monthly throughout 2020.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 9:07 a.m. Eastern from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, with another 60 Starlink internet satellites. The rocket’s upper stage deployed the satellites into a 302-kilometer low Earth orbit about an hour after liftoff.

SpaceX said it will test its satellites around that low altitude, where it expects any failures would burn up in Earth’s atmosphere after a few months. After completing checkouts, SpaceX plans to raise the satellites to a 550-kilometer operational orbit.

The launch — SpaceX’s fourth for Starlink not counting two demonstration satellites launched in 2018 — carried an upgraded set of satellites designed for better spectral efficiency and throughput. Poor weather delayed the mission by about a week.

Falcon 9’s first-stage booster landed on the droneship “Of Course I Still Love You” in the Atlantic Ocean, completing its third trip to space. SpaceX previously used the booster to launch the company’s Crew Dragon capsule on a March 2019 demonstration mission for NASA, and to launch three Canadian radar satellites last June.

SpaceX successfully caught a payload fairing half with “Ms. Tree,” a boat equipped with a large net. Jessica Anderson, a SpaceX manufacturing engineer co-narrating the launch, said the second fairing half missed its recovery boat, “Ms. Chief,” but appeared to have a soft water landing.

“We will be pulling that fairing half out of the water and hopefully reusing it again in the future,” she said.


Changes to Starlink

SpaceX has now launched 242 Starlink broadband satellites, though not every satellite will be part of the constellation when it starts service, a milestone anticipated later this year in Canada and the United States.

Some 10 Starlink satellites have not raised their orbits, according to observations by Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who tracks satellite movements.

SpaceX spokesman James Gleeson, when asked about the 10 satellites, said SpaceX is “performing a controlled de-orbit of several first iteration Starlink satellites,” using onboard propulsion. 

“While these satellites are operable and capable of providing service, the second iteration of Starlink satellites that SpaceX has started to deploy provide better spectrum efficiency, more capacity and optimized service to the end user,” he said.

SpaceX’s Starlink satellites launched Jan. 29 each weigh approximately 260 kilograms, an increase of 33 kilograms from the 60 satellites launched in May 2019.

SpaceX specified that the newest Starlink satellites have four phased array antennas. Previous satellites were described as having “multiple” phased array antennas.

SpaceX has been modifying Starlink’s design since early on in the program. The first 60 satellites were described as 95% demisable upon atmospheric reentry, meaning some components risked reaching the Earth’s surface. By the second dedicated launch in November, Starlink’s design featured fully demisable parts.

SpaceX is also experimenting with ways to lessen Starlink’s impact on astronomy. Earlier this month the company launched a satellite nicknamed “DarkSat” that features a darkening coating to make it less visible to stargazers and ground-based observatories.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said in May 2019 that later versions of Starlink would include inter-satellite links. He said then that the company would like to keep Starlink satellites in orbit for four to five years before deorbiting and replacing them with newer, more capable models.


Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-launches-fourth-batch-of-starlink-satellites-tweaks-satellite-design/
Tytuł: Odp: [AS]SpaceX Readies First Batch of Starlink Satellites for Wednesday Night Launch
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Luty 14, 2020, 08:01
Understanding the impact of satellite constellations on astronomy
by Staff Writers  Garching, Germany (SPX) Feb 13, 2020 [SD]

(https://www.spxdaily.com/images-hg/starlink-constellations-satellites-on-the-way-to-parking-orbit-hg.jpg)
Around 19 Starlink satellites were imaged shortly after launch in November 2019 by DECam on the Blanco 4-meter telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) by astronomers Clara Martinez-Vazquez and Cliff Johnson. The gaps in the satellite tracks are due to the gaps between the DECam CCD chips.

In June 2019, the International Astronomical Union expressed concern about the negative impact that the planned mega-constellations of communication satellites may have on astronomical observations and on the pristine appearance of the night sky when observed from a dark region. We here present a summary of the current understanding of the impact of these satellite constellations.

Following the statement of June 2019, IAU's Commission B7 Protection of Existing and Potential Observatory Sites and the Executive Committee Working Group Dark and Quiet Sky Protection were asked by the IAU Executive Committee to assess the situation and to start discussions with the companies that are responsible for launching and operating the mega-constellations in order to study measures to mitigate their interference.

Commission B7 has requested the input of astronomers from different organisations (Vera C. Rubin Observatory, U. Michigan, CAHA, ESO and ESA) skilled in modeling the frequency, location and brightness of satellite mega-constellations. Some of those results are presented below. The results of the simulations, given the large number of parameters involved and the associated assumptions and uncertainties, are to be considered preliminary.

While there is large uncertainty about the future number of satellites, some simulations were conducted on the basis of a large sample of over 25 000 satellites from representative satellite constellations from different companies. With this sample, the number of satellites above the horizon at any given time would be between ~1500 and a few thousand, depending on the latitude.

Most of these will appear very close to the horizon, only a few of them passing directly overhead; for instance, about 250 to 300 would have an elevation of more than 30 degrees over the horizon (i.e. where the sky is clear from obstructions, and where most of the astronomical observations are performed). The vast majority of these will be too faint to be visible to the naked eye.

When the Sun is 18 degrees below the horizon (i.e. when the night becomes dark), the number of illuminated satellites above the horizon would be around 1000 (with around 160 at elevations higher than 30 degrees). The numbers decrease further towards the middle of the night, when more satellites are in the Earth's shadow (e.g., no reflected sunlight).

At the moment it is difficult to predict how many of the illuminated satellites will be visible to the naked eye, because of uncertainties in their actual reflectivity (also since experiments are being carried out by SpaceX to reduce the reflectivity of a Starlink satellite by adopting different coatings).

The appearance of the pristine night sky, particularly when observed from dark sites, will nevertheless be altered, because the new satellites could be significantly brighter than existing orbiting man-made objects. The interference with the uncontaminated view of the night sky will be particularly important in the regions of the sky close to the horizon and less evident at high elevation.

The prominent trains of satellites ("strings of pearls"), often seen in images and videos, are significant immediately after launch and during the orbit-raising phase when they are considerably brighter than they are at their operational altitude and orientation. The global effect depends on how long the satellites are in this phase and on the frequency of launches.

Apart from their naked-eye visibility, it is estimated that the trails of the constellation satellites will be bright enough to saturate modern detectors on large telescopes. Wide-field scientific astronomical observations will therefore be severely affected. For instance, in the case of modern fast wide-field surveys, like the ones to be carried out by the Rubin Observatory (formerly known as LSST), it is estimated that up to 30% of the 30-second images during twilight hours will be affected.

Instruments with a smaller field of view would be less affected. In theory, the effects of the new satellites could be mitigated by accurately predicting their orbits and interrupting observations, when necessary, during their passage. Data processing could then be used to further "clean" the resulting images. However, the large number of trails could create significant and complicated overheads to the scheduling and operation of astronomical observations.

A summary of the findings and of the actions that have so far been undertaken is presented in a specific IAU Theme.

The focus of this Statement has been on the optical wavelengths. This is not to underplay the effect on the radio and submillimetre wavelength ranges, which is still under investigation. The IAU considers the consequences of satellite constellations worrisome. They will have a negative impact on the progress of ground-based astronomy, radio, optical and infrared, and will require diverting human and financial resources from basic research to studying and implementing mitigating measures.

A great deal of attention is also being given to the protection of the uncontaminated view of the night sky from dark places, which should be considered a non-renounceable world human heritage. This is one of the main messages communicated on the dedicated IAU-UNESCO web site on astronomical heritage.

In order to mitigate the impacts of satellite constellations that may interfere with professional and amateur astronomical observations, the IAU, in close collaboration with the American Astronomical Society (AAS), will continue to initiate discussions with space agencies and private companies that are planning to launch and operate currently planned and future satellite constellations.

The IAU notes that currently there are no internationally agreed rules or guidelines on the brightness of orbiting manmade objects. While until now this was not considered a priority topic, it is now becoming increasingly relevant.

Therefore the IAU will regularly present its findings at the meetings of the UN Committee for Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), bringing the attention of the world Government representatives to the threats posed by any new space initiative on astronomy and science in general. In addition, the specific theme of the mega-satellites will be included in the Programme of the IAU/UNOOSA/IAC Conference Dark and Quiet Skies for Science and Society, which will be held in Santa Cruz de La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain, on 5-8 October 2020.

The IAU stresses that technological progress is only made possible by parallel advances in scientific knowledge. Satellites would neither operate nor properly communicate without essential contributions from astronomy and physics. It is in everybody's interest to preserve and support the progress of fundamental science such as astronomy, celestial mechanics, orbital dynamics and relativity.

A summary of the findings and of the actions that have so far been undertaken is presented in a specific IAU Theme here (https://www.iau.org/public/themes/satellite-constellations/)


Source: https://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Understanding_the_impact_of_satellite_constellations_on_astronomy_999.html
Tytuł: Odp: [AS]SpaceX Readies First Batch of Starlink Satellites for Wednesday Night Launch
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Luty 18, 2020, 07:04
SpaceX launches fifth batch of Starlink satellites, misses booster landing
by Caleb Henry — February 17, 2020 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Starlink-5-launch-879x485.png)
SpaceX launched its fifth batch of Starlink satellites into a lower orbit than previous missions to reduce strain on the rocket. Credit: SpaceX webcast.

WASHINGTON — SpaceX completed its fifth dedicated Starlink launch Feb. 17, successfully sending 60 satellites into low Earth orbit while missing what would have been the company’s 50th booster recovery.

A Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 10:05 a.m. Eastern from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, on a mission profile that differed from past Starlink launches.

Instead of deploying the satellites into a circular orbit as it had done on all four dedicated Starlink launches, Falcon 9 released Starlink’s fifth batch of broadband satellites into the lower end of an elliptical orbit about 15 minutes after liftoff, eliminating the need to fire the rocket’s upper stage a second time.

SpaceX said all 60 satellites were deployed at an altitude of 227 kilometers and will use onboard electric propulsion to reach their target 550-kilometer circular orbit.

The lower deployment altitude SpaceX used Feb. 17 is about 70 kilometers below the drop-off point used for the three most recent missions and more than 200 kilometers below last May’s first dedicated Starlink deployment.

Future Starlink launches will continue to use the lower drop-off point in order to shorten the mission and ease the load on the rocket, Jessie Anderson, a lead manufacturing engineer at SpaceX, said while co-narrating the launch.

Despite the reduced workload, Falcon 9’s reusable first-stage booster missed the droneship “Of Course I Still Love You,” splashing down nearby in the Atlantic Ocean.

SpaceX used the same booster for three previous missions — two 2019 resupply missions to the International Space Station for NASA, and the December launch of the JCSAT-18/Kacific-1 communications satellite. Lauren Lyons, a Starlink satellite engineer co-narrating the launch, said reusing the booster for the Feb. 17 launch marked SpaceX’s “fastest turnaround to date.”

SpaceX has now launched 302 Starlink satellites, counting two prototypes launched in 2018. The company is targeting 24 Starlink launches this year, and plans on starting regional service in Canada and the northern United States later this year, with near global coverage by 2021.


Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-launches-fifth-batch-of-starlink-satellites-misses-booster-landing/
Tytuł: Odp: [AS]SpaceX Readies First Batch of Starlink Satellites for Wednesday Night Launch
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Luty 18, 2020, 07:06
SpaceX delivers more Starlink satellites to orbit, booster misses drone ship landing
February 17, 2020 Stephen Clark [SFN]

(https://mk0spaceflightnoa02a.kinstacdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/49548795401_3813ee1047_4k.jpg)
A Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 10:05:55 a.m. EST (1505:55 GMT) Monday with 60 more SpaceX Starlink satellites. Credit: SpaceX

Sixty more satellites for SpaceX’s Starlink broadband network launched Monday on a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, bringing the total number of Starlink platforms deployed in orbit since last May to 300.

More Starlink missions are on tap in the coming months, with the next slated to fly aboard another Falcon 9 launcher as soon as early March.

Monday’s mission began with a burst of flame from SpaceX’s Falcon 9 booster, followed by the release of hold-down clamps to allow the 1.2-million-pound Falcon 9 to climb into a partly cloudy sky over Cape Canaveral’s Complex 40 launch pad.

The 229-foot-tall (70-meter) rocket lifted off at 10:05:55 a.m. EST (1505:55 GMT) powered by thrust from nine kerosene-fueled Merlin 1D engines.

The Falcon 9 quickly cleared lightning towers at pad 40 and steered toward the northeast, sending a window-shaking roar across the Florida spaceport.

Two-and-a-half minutes into the mission, the Falcon 9’s first stage booster shut down its engines and separated, allowing a single Merlin engine on the launcher’s second stage to fire into orbit.

Seconds later, the Falcon 9’s payload shroud jettisoned as the rocket soared into space, revealing the launcher’s more than 34,000-pound (15.6-metric ton) payload package, comprised of 60 flat-panel signal relay nodes for SpaceX’s Starlink network.

While the second stage accelerated into orbit, the first stage of the Falcon 9 descended back through the atmosphere and attempted landing on SpaceX’s football field-sized drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You” holding position nearly 400 miles (630 kilometers) northeast of Cape Canaveral.

But the rocket missed the drone ship and appeared to make a soft landing in the water nearby, according to streaming video from the offshore vessel. The missed landing marked the first time a first stage booster on a Falcon 9 rocket has missed a landing attempt on a SpaceX drone ship since 2016.

The rocket used on Monday’s mission was a veteran of three previous launches and landings. It’s not likely to be reused after landing in sea water.

Two other SpaceX vessels were positioned in the Atlantic Ocean to try to catch the two halves of the Falcon 9’s payload shroud. SpaceX did not announce the results of the fairing recovery attempt, but a company employee said engineers are still experimenting with catching the aerodynamic shroud using fast-moving ships fitted with giant nets. Previous catch attempts have been hit or miss.

Around the same time as the first stage reached the ocean, a SpaceX launch controller announced that the Falcon 9 upper stage had arrived in orbit and was poised to release the 60 Starlink satellites, the mission’s primary objective.

After firing thrusters to enter a controlled spin, the upper stage released retention rods holding the Starlink satellites to the rocket. That allowed the spacecraft — each weighing about a quarter-ton — to fly away from the Falcon 9 as the vehicles soared over the North Atlantic Ocean.

One change introduced Monday different from past Starlink missions was the release of the Starlink payloads into an elliptical transfer orbit, instead of a circular orbit.

SpaceX did not respond to questions from Spaceflight Now on the reason for the change in launch profile, but a host on the company’s webcast Monday said all future Starlink missions will use the new trajectory to inject the satellites into an elliptical orbit after a single upper stage burn.

“We are executing a direct inject of the Starlink satellites into an elliptical, or oval-shaped, orbit,” said Jessica Anderson, a manufacturing engineer at SpaceX. “In prior Starlink missions, we deployed the satellites into a 290-kilometer (180-mile) circular orbit, which required two burns of the Merlin vacuum engine on the second stage.

“Keep in mind the stack of 60 Starlink satellites combined is one of the heaviest payloads we fly, so putting them directly into this orbit requires more vehicle performance and makes recovery more challenging,” she said. “Going forward, and starting with today, we will deploy the satellites shortly after the first burn of the second stage, putting the Starlink satellites into an elliptical orbit.


(https://mk0spaceflightnoa02a.kinstacdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/starlink_stack3.jpg)
A stack of 60 Starlink satellites. Credit: SpaceX

“Once checkouts are complete, the satellites will then use their on-board ion thrusters to move into their inteded orbits at an operational altitude of 550 kilometers (341 miles).”

According to preflight predictions, the Starlink craft on Monday were programmed for deployment in an elliptical, or egg-shaped, orbit ranging between 131 miles (212 kilometers) and 239 miles (386 kilometers) in altitude, with an inclination of 53 degrees to the equator.

As a result of the orbit change, the Falcon 9’s second stage remained in orbit after release the Starlink satellites Monday. It is expected to passively re-enter the atmosphere in the coming months, instead of performing a controlled de-orbit burn, as the stage did after previous Starlink launches.

Like SpaceX’s previous Starlink launches, the satellites deployed in a tight cluster. SpaceX ground teams will activate krypton ion thrusters and other systems on the satellites to maneuver them into a higher orbit, targeting an altitude of 341 miles for operational service broadcasting signals in Ku-band.

The first phase of SpaceX’s Starlink program, which aims to beam consumer broadband to customers around the world, will include 1,584 of the flat-panel satellites — including spares — in orbit 341 miles above Earth.

SpaceX has approval from the Federal Communications Commission to operate nearly 12,000 Starlink satellites in Ku-band, Ka-band and V-band frequencies, with groups of spacecraft flying at different altitudes with various orbital tilts, or inclinations.

Last year, SpaceX signaled to the International Telecommunication Union that it may seek authority to operate up to 30,000 additional broadband satellites in low Earth orbit, potentially bringing the total Starlink fleet to 42,000 platforms.

But SpaceX says the fleet’s growth will hinge on demand, and the company must launch roughly 20 more missions before completing the first phase of its Starlink network.


(https://mk0spaceflightnoa02a.kinstacdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/starlink.jpg)
Artist’s illustration of a Starlink satellite. Credit: SpaceX

SpaceX also needs to test the network and begin selling the Starlink service, and work continues on user terminals to link customers on the ground with the satellite network in space. The company has not announced a price or Internet speeds for its consumer-grade service.

The rapid-fire deployment of Starlink satellites — coupled with plans for other large satellite fleets — has astronomers worried that the proliferation of small spacecraft could impact observations by ground-based telescopes.

The Starlink satellites are brighter than predicted, sometimes reflecting sunlight and becoming as bright as the most luminous stars in the night sky. But the brightest sightings occur only soon after a launch, when the satellites are flying at lower altitudes and are clumped close together.

The satellites are harder to spot as they spread out in the weeks after a launch and begin raising their orbits to their 341-mile-high operating altitude. But scientists caution they will pose a threat to high-power telescopes, such as the U.S. government-funded Vera C. Rubin Observatory under construction in Chile.

The International Astronomical Union — a global body chartered in 1919 to “promote and safeguard the science of astronomy” — said last week that it “considers the consequences of satellite constellations worrisome.”

“They will have a negative impact on the progress of ground-based astronomy, radio, optical and infrared, and will require diverting human and financial resources from basic research to studying and implementing mitigating measures,” the IAU said in a press release.

“A great deal of attention is also being given to the protection of the uncontaminated view of the night sky from dark places, which should be considered a non-renounceable world human heritage,” the IAU said.

At the request of the IAU, scientists from the Vera Rubin Observatory, the University of Michigan, the Centro Astronómico Hispano-Alemán, the European Southern Observatory and the European Space Agency modeled the frequency, location and brightness of satellites in planned “mega-constellations” flying in low Earth orbit.

The IAU said the results of the simulations are preliminary. Some of the simulations assumed more than 25,000 broadband satellites could be deployed in low Earth orbit, in which case between 1,500 and a few thousand spacecraft could be above the horizon at any given time, depending on the observer’s latitude.

The “vast majority” of those satellites would not be visible to the naked eye, according to the IAU. The simulations showed that around 250 to 300 of the spacecraft above the horizon at any given time would have an elevation of more than 30 degrees, the region of the sky where astronomers perform most of their observations.

At astronomical dawn and dusk — when the sun is 18 degrees below the horizon — simulations suggest around 1,000 satellites could be illuminated by sunlight and above the horizon. Around 160 of the illuminated spacecraft could be higher than 30 degrees in the sky at one time, and those are the satellites that pose the greatest threat to astronomical research.

The numbers of illuminated satellites will decrease in the middle of the night, according to the IAU.


(https://mk0spaceflightnoa02a.kinstacdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/D00908899_i_r5001p01-CC-cleaned-2-2.jpg)
This 333-second exposure taken last year by the Dark Energy Camera on the Blanco 4-meter telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory shows 19 streaks attributed to Starlink satellites passing through the camera’s field-of-view shortly after their launch Nov. 11 from Cape Canaveral. Credit: NSF’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory/NSF/AURA/CTIO/DELVE

In response to astronomers’ concerns, SpaceX launched one satellite in early January with an experimental darker coating. The long-term effectiveness of the external treatment will not be known until the satellite reaches the Starlink fleet’s operational altitude.

Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s president and chief operating officer, said in December the company was in dialog with astronomers about the issue.

“Astronomy is one of a few things that gets little kids excited about space,” Shotwell said. “There are a lot of adults that get excited, too, who either depend on it for their living or for entertainment. But we want to make sure we do the right thing, to make sure little kids can look through their telescopes. It’d be cool for them to see a Starlink. I think that’s cool. But they should be looking at Saturn and the moon.”

The other company on the cusp of launching hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of broadband satellites is London-based OneWeb.

OneWeb has launched 40 satellites to date, with plans to launch roughly 32 to 36 more every month to deploy an initial fleet of nearly 650 spacecraft. But like SpaceX, OneWeb has plans to grow from there.

The satellites owned by OneWeb are smaller than the Starlink spacecraft, and they orbit higher, allowing the company to provide global coverage with fewer satellites than SpaceX. The higher altitude also means they will be dimmer to ground observers, the company says.

“We’re going to do the most we can to mitigate (astronomers’ concerns),” said Adrian Steckel, OneWeb’s CEO. “We’re not visible to the naked eye. We are visible to telescopes. It’s hard to get around some of those facts.”

Scientists have also questioned whether constellations of thousands of satellites broadcasting broadband data will interfere with radio astronomy, which uses giant antennas to listen to faint radio signals generated from distant stars and galaxies.

“With respect to radio frequency … we’ll try,” Steckel said earlier this month. “We’re going to do the most we can. I don’t know if there will be a solution that will make everybody happy. At least we’re in dialog, and we’re trying to get feedback on what can we do.”

The IAU said there is still uncertainty in the eventual impacts of huge flocks of satellites on astronomy.

“At the moment it is difficult to predict how many of the illuminated satellites will be visible to the naked eye, because of uncertainties in their actual reflectivity,” the IAU said, referencing the unknown outcome of SpaceX’s experiments with darker coatings.


(https://mk0spaceflightnoa02a.kinstacdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/EQwPD2mWsAATiog.jpeg)
The Vera Rubin Observatory is under construction in Chile. Credit: Vera Rubin Observatory

“The appearance of the pristine night sky, particularly when observed from dark sites, will nevertheless be altered, because the new satellites could be significantly brighter than existing orbiting man-made objects,” the IAU said. “The interference with the uncontaminated view of the night sky will be particularly important in the regions of the sky close to the horizon and less evident at high elevation.”

The IAU said astronomical impacts during the period of time when Starlink satellites are brightest — soon after a launch — depend on how long the spacecraft are flying at lower altitudes, and the frequency of launches.

“Apart from their naked-eye visibility, it is estimated that the trails of the constellation satellites will be bright enough to saturate modern detectors on large telescopes,” the IAU concluded. “Wide-field scientific astronomical observations will therefore be severely affected. For instance, in the case of modern fast wide-field surveys, like the ones to be carried out by the Rubin Observatory (formerly known as LSST), it is estimated that up to 30 percent of the 30-second images during twilight hours will be affected.”

Formerly known as the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, the Vera Rubin Observatory will capture deep, wide-field images of the entire available sky, allowing astronomers to learn more about dark energy and dark matter, and detect potentially hazardous asteroids with orbits near Earth, among other objectives.

“Instruments with a smaller field of view would be less affected,” the IAU continued. “In theory, the effects of the new satellites could be mitigated by accurately predicting their orbits and interrupting observations, when necessary, during their passage. Data processing could then be used to further ‘clean’ the resulting images. However, the large number of trails could create significant and complicated overheads to the scheduling and operation of astronomical observations.”

The IAU’s statement last week focused on optical astronomy. Astronomers continue studying the possible interference that signals transmitted by broadband satellites in low Earth orbit will have on radio astronomy.<

The IAU said there are no internationally-agreed rules of guidelines on the brightness of satellites. The group said it will present its findings to the United Nations to bring the attention of world government representatives on the issue.

“The IAU stresses that technological progress is only made possible by parallel advances in scientific knowledge,” the group said. “Satellites would neither operate nor properly communicate without essential contributions from astronomy and physics. It is in everybody’s interest to preserve and support the progress of fundamental science such as astronomy, celestial mechanics, orbital dynamics and relativity.”

SpaceX’s next launch is scheduled for 1:45 a.m. EST (0545 GMT) March 2, again from pad 40 at Cape Canaveral, when a Falcon 9 rocket will loft a Dragon cargo capsule into orbit on a resupply mission to the International Space Station.

Another Starlink launch on a Falcon 9 rocket is also scheduled as soon as March 4 from nearby pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center.


Source: https://spaceflightnow.com/2020/02/17/spacex-delivers-more-starlink-satellites-to-orbit-booster-misses-drone-ship-landing/
Tytuł: Odp: [AS]SpaceX Readies First Batch of Starlink Satellites for Wednesday Night Launch
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Marzec 18, 2020, 15:41
SpaceX launches Starlink satellites, misses booster landing for second time
by Caleb Henry — March 18, 2020

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Starlink-6-launch-879x485.png)
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said one of the nine engines on Falcon 9's first stage shut down early during ascent. Credit: SpaceX webcast.

WASHINGTON — SpaceX successfully launched 60 satellites for its Starlink broadband constellation March 18, but failed to recover the rocket’s first stage, marking the company’s second consecutive booster miss.

The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 8:16 a.m. Eastern from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and deployed the satellites into a 221-kilometer low Earth orbit about 15 minutes later. One of the nine engines on the rocket’s first stage shut down prematurely during ascent, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted after the mission.

The engine shut down didn’t affect orbital insertion, he said. Musk did not address if the engine outage was influential in SpaceX’s inability to recover the booster, which was completing its fifth reflight — the highest SpaceX has attempted. Musk said a “thorough investigation” will be needed before SpaceX’s next mission.

SpaceX previously planned to launch its latest Starlink satellites on March 15, but aborted the launch immediately after engine ignition due to what SpaceX described as “out of family data” during an engine power check.

The launch Wednesday was SpaceX’s first to use the same Falcon 9 booster for a fifth time. SpaceX used the same booster to launch 10 Iridium Next satellites in July 2018, Argentina’s Saocom-1A satellite in October 2018, the Indonesian Nusantara Satu satellite in February 2019, and the second dedicated Starlink mission in November. The company has designed Falcon 9 first-stage boosters to complete 10 flights each.

SpaceX tweaked the mission profile for Starlink launches starting with its Feb. 17 mission, dropping off 60 satellites in an elliptical orbit rather than a circular one, to reduce the load on the rocket and ease booster recovery. Neither mission using that modified profile has been successful, however.

SpaceX’s March 18 launch did successfully reuse payload fairing halves from a Starlink mission last May. The company is attempting to recover the fairing halves again using the boats “Ms. Chief” and “Ms. Tree,” which are outfitted with large catcher’s nets.

SpaceX has now launched 362 Starlink satellites, counting two demonstration spacecraft in 2018. The company said it will test the latest 60 satellites at their drop off altitude before using electric propulsion to raise them to their target 550-kilometer orbit.

SpaceX is building and launching a constellation of up to 12,000, and potentially even 42,000, satellites for global internet connectivity. Musk said at the Satellite 2020 conference that Starlink is designed to serve the 3-4% of the population that is most difficult to reach. Musk said SpaceX is not thinking about spinning off Starlink as a separate business.


Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-launches-starlink-satellites-misses-booster-landing-for-second-time/
Tytuł: Odp: [AS]SpaceX Readies First Batch of Starlink Satellites for Wednesday Night Launch
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Marzec 19, 2020, 02:39
SpaceX claims some success in darkening Starlink satellites
by Jeff Foust — March 18, 2020 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/starlink-trails.jpg)
SpaceX says that an experimental Starlink satellite has demonstrated a "notable reduction" in its brightness, but that may not be enough to assuage astronomers concerned the constellation could adversely affect their observations. Credit: Victoria Girgis/Lowell Observatory

WASHINGTON — SpaceX says it will take more steps to reduce the impact of its Starlink satellite constellation on astronomy, although astronomers disagree with statements by Elon Musk that the system will have “zero” effect on their work.

SpaceX launched its latest set of Starlink satellites March 18, the fourth such launch this year and sixth overall. The company has placed 362 Starlink satellites into orbit, counting two experimental satellites launched in 2018, and nearly all of them remain in orbit.

Since large-scale Starlink launches started in May 2019, astronomers have warned that the satellites, far brighter than expected, could interfere with their observations, particularly if SpaceX proceeds with plans to launch 12,000 or more such satellites in the next several years. In response to those concerns, SpaceX included an experimental “DarkSat” among the 60 Starlink satellites launched Jan. 6, with portions of the satellite darkened to reduce its reflectivity and hence brightness.

During the company’s webcast of the latest Starlink launch, SpaceX claimed some success with that effort. “Preliminary results show a notable reduction,” said Jessica Anderson, one of the hosts of the webcast. She added that the company had “a couple of other ideas that we think could reduce the reflectivity even further.”

One of those, she said, was a “sunshade” that would deploy like a patio umbrella from the satellite. That will be tested on a future Starlink mission, but she didn’t give more details about either the sunshade itself or when it would be flown.

SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk also mentioned the sunshade option during an onstage interview at the Satellite 2020 conference here March 9. “We are working with senior members of the science community and senior astronomers to minimize the potential for reflection from the satellites,” he said. “We’re running a bunch of experiments.” That includes a sunshade and other steps “to minimize the potential for any impact.”

However, the company’s claim that DarkSat has achieved a “notable reduction” in brightness is not necessarily supported by recent observations. In a paper posted to the online preprint server arXiv (https://arxiv.org/pdf/2003.07251.pdf) March 17, astronomers using a small telescope in Chile measured the brightness of DarkSat and compared it to another Starlink satellite without darkening treatments. They found DarkSat was about 0.88 magnitudes, or 55%, dimmer than the ordinary DarkSat.

That falls far short of what many astronomers are seeking. In a March 11 panel discussion organized by the American Astronomical Society, Tony Tyson, chief scientist for the Vera Rubin Observatory under construction in Chile, said that simulations of the Starlink satellites showed that not only would the satellites make bright streaks on images taken by the telescope, but create other image artifacts by saturating pixels in the detector.

“If we could make those particular spacecraft, the Starlinks, darker by 10 to 20 times, it may remove many of these artifacts,” he said. “It won’t remove the main trail — it will always be there — but it would remove the artifacts so that we might be able to get the science out of the data.”

At the time of that event, there was still little information available about how much dimmer DarkSat was than the rest of the Starlink constellation. While launched in early January, the spacecraft reached its operational orbit only in late February, allowing for accurate comparisons of its brightness.

“This is a continuing experiment,” Tyson said of the DarkSat observations, noting that measurements of its brightness were taken just the night before. The data from the small Chilean telescope analyzed in the arXiv preprint came primarily from a single night of observations in early March after DarkSat reached its operational orbit.

Tyson, though, emphasized the cooperation between SpaceX and the astronomy community to reduce the brightness of future Starlink satellites. “We’ve had a really delightful collaboration going now for a couple months with SpaceX engineers,” he said. “There are a lot of ideas on the table for darkening their satellites. This is just the first.”

Musk, in his Satellite 2020 appearance, claimed that the Starlink constellation will ultimately have no effect on ground-based astronomy. “I am confident that we not cause any impact whatsoever in astronomical discoveries,” he said. “Zero. That’s my prediction. We will take corrective action if it’s above zero.”

Astronomers like Tyson, though, would not go so far to say that Starlink will have “zero” effect on their observations. “My hope in the future is that they will be darkened sufficiently, just as I mentioned, just to get out of this region where our detectors are impacted very negatively,” he said. “The trail will always be there, of course, but maybe we can salvage some of the science.”


Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-claims-some-success-in-darkening-starlink-satellites/
Tytuł: Odp: [AS]SpaceX Readies First Batch of Starlink Satellites for Wednesday Night Launch
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Marzec 19, 2020, 02:39
Falcon 9 rocket overcomes engine failure to deploy Starlink satellites
March 18, 2020 Stephen Clark [SFN]

(https://mk0spaceflightnoa02a.kinstacdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/star5_vab_dsc_9344.jpg)
A Falcon 9 rocket takes off from pad 39A Wednesday morning at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Credit: SpaceX

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket overcame a rare in-flight engine failure soon after launch from Florida’s Space Coast Wednesday to place 60 satellites in orbit for the company’s Starlink Internet network.

One of the rocket’s nine first stage engines shut down prematurely around 2 minutes, 22 seconds, after liftoff from pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, an event visible in a view from a camera streaming live video from the Falcon 9 as it climbed into the upper atmosphere.

Elon Musk, SpaceX’s founder and CEO, confirmed in a tweet that the Falcon 9 experienced an “early engine shutdown on ascent, but it didn’t affect orbit insertion.”

The rocket’s other Merlin engines fired a little longer to compensate for the loss of thrust. The rest of the Falcon 9’s climb into orbit appeared to go according to plan, and the upper stage deployed the 60 Starlink satellites into orbit around 15 minutes after liftoff.

“Shows value of having 9 engines!” Musk wrote on Twitter.

The first stage missed a landing attempt on SpaceX’s drone ship parked in the Atlantic Ocean northeast of Cape Canaveral, the second time SpaceX has missed a rocket landing in the company’s last three missions. It was not immediately clear whether the engine shutdown on ascent affected the recovery attempt.

There are nine kerosene-fueled Merlin 1D engines on the Falcon 9’s first stage, each generating 190,000 pounds of thrust at sea level when firing at full power. The Falcon 9 is designed to persevere through a booster engine failure and still deliver its payload to orbit.

The in-flight engine failure on Wednesday’s launch marked the second time a Merlin engine has prematurely shut down on a Falcon 9 flight.

In October 2012, a Merlin 1C engine — a predecessor to the Merlin 1D — failed during the launch of a Dragon supply ship on the way to the International Space Station. The Falcon 9 was still able to deliver the Dragon spacecraft into orbit, but the failure resulted in the loss of an Orbcomm data relay satellite riding as a secondary payload.

Musk promised a “thorough investigation” of Wednesday’s early engine shutdown before the next Falcon 9 launch, and it was not immediately clear whether the inquiry might prompt launch delays.

The first stage flown on Monday’s mission was making its fifth trip to space, after flawless performance on four previous missions since 2018. It was the first time SpaceX has launched a Falcon 9 booster on a fifth flight.

The launch was previously scheduled for Sunday, but computers ordered a last-second abort after ignition of the rocket’s Merlin main engines. Musk tweeted that the launch attempt was aborted due to “slightly high power” detected in the Falcon 9’s propulsion system, adding that the event was “possible, but not obviously, related to today.”



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Spaceflight Now@SpaceflightNow 2:11 PM - Mar 18, 2020
Elon Musk, SpaceX’s founder and CEO, confirms one of the Falcon 9’s first stage engines shut down prematurely during today’s launch.

Although the rocket achieved the planned orbit, Musk says a thorough investigation is needed before the next mission. https://spaceflightnow.com/2020/03/13/falcon-9-starlink-5-mission-status-center/ …
Twitter (https://twitter.com/SpaceflightNow/status/1240264552580874245?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1240264552580874245&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fspaceflightnow.com%2F2020%2F03%2F18%2Ffalcon-9-rocket-overcomes-engine-failure-to-deploy-starlink-satellites%2F)

“This vehicle has seen a lot of wear, so today isn’t a big surprise,” Musk tweeted. “Life leader rockets are used only for internal missions. Won’t risk non-SpaceX satellites.”

SpaceX says Falcon 9 boosters are designed for 10 missions without major work, although technicians routinely perform inspections and some refurbishment on the vehicles between flights.

The 229-foot-tall (70-meter) Falcon 9 rocket took off at 8:16:39 a.m. EDT (1216:39 GMT) Wednesday from pad 39A at the Florida spaceport, then turned northeast to soar into space over the Atlantic Ocean.

The Falcon 9’s first stage continued firing more than around 15 seconds after the engine failure, then separated to allow the rocket’s second stage to ignite its single Merlin engine to accelerate into orbit with the 60 Starlink satellites.

The bulbous aerodynamic shroud on the nose of the Falcon 9 rocket jettisoned moments later. Like the first stage, the two halves of the clamshell-like fairing were recycled from a previous mission.

SpaceX later confirmed the two fairing halves descended to parachute-assisted water landings in the Atlantic Ocean, where two recovery ships were on station to retrieve the parts and return them to port.

The Falcon 9’s booster reignited its engines for an entry burn to begin slowing down for landing on SpaceX’s football field-sized landing platform, but the video feed from the first stage cut off soon after the maneuver. SpaceX later confirmed the booster was unable to land on the drone ship.

A Falcon 9 first stage also missed landing on the drone ship after a Feb. 17 launch, but the booster on a March 6 launch made a successful onshore landing at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

SpaceX is the only company that currently recovers and reuses orbital-class rocket boosters.

While recovering the booster helps reduce costs and maintain a rapid launch cadence, the first stage landing is always a secondary objective on SpaceX missions.

The rocket’s upper stage shut down its engine around nine minutes after liftoff Wednesday, then fired thrusters to enter a spin before releasing the 60 flat-panel Starlink satellites. Live video beamed back to ground controllers from the Falcon 9 showed the Starlink payloads flying away from the rocket as the vehicle soared over the North Atlantic Ocean.


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Spaceflight Now@SpaceflightNow 1:37 PM - Mar 18, 2020
Sixty Starlink broadband relay satellites have deployed from SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket in orbit. With this launch, SpaceX has launched 360 Starlink stations since last May. https://spaceflightnow.com/2020/03/13/falcon-9-starlink-5-mission-status-center/ …
Twitter (https://twitter.com/SpaceflightNow/status/1240256085463793664?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1240256085463793664&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fspaceflightnow.com%2F2020%2F03%2F18%2Ffalcon-9-rocket-overcomes-engine-failure-to-deploy-starlink-satellites%2F)

The 60 Starlink spacecraft were to be released in an elliptical, or egg-shaped, transfer orbit ranging between 130 miles (210 kilometers) and 227 miles (366 kilometers) above Earth, with an inclination of 53 degrees to the equator.

Each of the quarter-ton Starlink satellites was expected to unfurl a solar array wing and activate a krypton ion propulsion drive to begin climbing to an operational orbit 341 miles (550 kilometers) in altitude.

The Starlink network is designed to beam Internet signals to most of the world’s population, targeting hard-to-reach consumers and users on the go. With Wednesday’s launch, SpaceX has added 360 satellites to the Starlink fleet since beginning dedicated missions last May.

SpaceX has become a leader in the commercial launch market with its Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets, thanks in large part to the company’s ability to cut the cost of access to space. The company is developing a pair of next-generation vehicles called the Starship and the Super Heavy booster to replace the Falcon rocket family.

Musk has said revenue from SpaceX’s business, including launch contracts and Starlink services, will help fund development of the Starship and other future technology needed to carry people to Mars and other planetary destinations.

“The whole purpose of SpaceX is really to help make life multi-planetary, but the revenue potential of launching satellites, servicing the space station and whatnot, that taps out about $3 billion a year,” Musk said March 9 in a talk at the Satellite 2020 conference in Washington. “But I think providing broadband is more like an order of magnitude beyond that, probably $30 billion a year as a rough approximation. And we’re still probably below 5 percent (market share) at that point.”

Musk said the Starlink network will reach the “hardest to serve” Internet customers, and will not be a major threat to established telecom operators.

“It’s not like Starlink is some real threat to teclos,” he said.

The first phase of the Starlink network will include more than 1,500 satellites — including spares — orbiting 341 miles above Earth on tracks inclined 53 degrees to the equator. But SpaceX has regulatory authority from the Federal Communications Commission to operate up to 12,000 communications and data relay spacecraft.

“5G is great for high-density situations like being here in D.C. or New York, San Francisco, that kind of thing,” Musk said. “But it’s actually not great for the countryside. For rural areas, it’s not great. You need range. So any kind of sparse environment, 5G is really not well-suited, but it’s great for dense city situations.

“So Starlink will effectively service the 3 or 4 percent hardest to reach customers for telcos, or people who simply have no connectivity right now, or the connectivity is really bad,” Musk said. “So I think it will be actually helpful and take a significant load off the traditional telcos.”

The U.S. military could also be a major customer for Starlink services.


(https://mk0spaceflightnoa02a.kinstacdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/starlink_art1.jpg)
Artist’s concept of a Starlink satellite with its solar array wing unfurled. Credit: SpaceX

SpaceX has not publicized connectivity speeds or prices for consumer-grade connectivity through the Starlink network. But Musk gate prospective customers a taste of what they could expect.

“It will be very low latency, and we’re targeting latency below 20 milliseconds, so somebody could play a fast response video game at a competitive level,” he said. “That’s the threshold for latency. And bandwidth? The bandwidth is a very complex question. Let’s just say somebody will be able to watch high-definition movies, play video games, and do all the things they want to do without noticing speed.”

Musk said user ground terminals will “look like a UFO on a stick,” and the first version of the Starlink ground antenna will have actuators to point the transmitter and receiver.

“It’s very important that you don’t need a specialist to install,” Musk said. “The goal is that (on) the instructions on the box, there are just two instructions, and they can be done in either order: Point at sky and plug in.”

Many astronomers are worried that the launch of thousands of satellites, such as those planned by SpaceX and competitors like OneWeb and Amazon, will impact observations of the night sky.

SpaceX’s Starlink satellites are brighter than expected, particularly soon after a launch when the spacecraft are clumped together in clusters at lower altitudes. Reflective surfaces on the satellites glint sunlight back to Earth’s surface near dawn and dusk.

The European Southern Observatory reported March 5 that its Very Large Telescope and future Extremely Large Telescope in Chile will be ‘moderately affected’ by the satellite constellations under development. About 3 percent of long exposures from the telescopes could be ruined at twilight, the scientists concluded in a study accepted for publication in the scientific journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

But other facilities may not be so fortunate.

“The study also finds that the greatest impact could be on wide-field surveys, in particular those done with large telescopes,” ESO said in a statement. “For example, up to 30 percent to 50 percent of exposures with the U.S. National Science Foundation’s Vera C. Rubin Observatory … would be ‘severely affected,’ depending on the time of year, the time of night, and the simplifying assumptions of the study.

“Mitigation techniques that could be applied on ESO telescopes would not work for this observatory although other strategies are being actively explored,” ESO said.

Musk dismissed those concerns March 9.

“I’m confident that we will not cause impact whatsoever in astronomical discoveries,” he said. “Zero. That’s my prediction. We’ll take corrective action if it’s above zero.

“When the satellites are first launched, they’re tumbling a little bit, so they’re going to glint because they haven’t stabilized. And they are raising their orbits, so they’re lower than you’d expect, and they reflect in ways that is not the case when they’re on orbit.”

SpaceX and OneWeb are working with scientists to mitigate the effects of satellite constellations on astronomical observations.

“So we’re running a bunch of experiments to, for example, paint the phased array antenna black instead of white,” Musk said. “And we’re working on a sunshade because there are certain angles if the sun get just right and there’s not, like, a little sunshade — we’re not talking about a lot here — then you can get a reflection. So we’re launching sunshade, changing the color of the satellites, and otherwise minimizing the potential for any impact.”

SpaceX said last month it was considering spinning off the Starlink business into a separate company, and potentially launch a public stock offering in the project, in the next several years.

Musk said March 9 that SpaceX is focused on making Starlink successful first.

“We’re thinking about that zero,” he said. “We need to make the thing work.”

Guess how many LEO (low Earth orbit) constellations didn’t go bankrupt? Zero. Iridium’s doing OK (now), but Iridium 1 went bankrupt. Orbcomm went bankrupt. Globalstar, bankrupt. Teledesic, bankrupt.”

Musk said there’s room for other companies in the market to provide Internet services from space, and SpaceX is happy to launch satellites for competitors. SES, a longtime SpaceX customer, announced last year it would launch seven high-power broadband satellites for its O3b mPower network on two Falcon 9 rocket flights.

“If you want to launch a constellation on SpaceX, that sounds good to me,” he said. “The world seems to have an insatiable appetite for bandwidth … We don’t think Starlink is going to destroy all other satellites, or something like that.”

The next launch on SpaceX’s schedule is slated for no earlier than March 30 from pad 40 at Cape Canaveral. A Falcon 9 rocket is being readied to carry Argentina’s SAOCOM 1B radar observation satellite into a polar sun-synchronous orbit, flying on a southerly trajectory just offshore roughly parallel with Florida’s East Coast.

The last time Cape Canaveral was the departure point for mission into a polar orbit was in 1960.

Another Falcon 9 launch with Starlink satellites is scheduled from pad 40 in April, and a U.S. military GPS navigation satellite is set to take off on a Falcon 9 rocket April 29, also from pad 40.

SpaceX’s first mission with astronauts could launch as soon as May from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center. NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are training for a test flight to the International Space Station aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spaceship.

That flight will be the first human space mission to launch into orbit from U.S. soil since the retirement of the space shuttle in 2011.

But launch dates hinge on numerous factors, including the growing coronavirus pandemic, which has prompted NASA to mandate telework for non-essential employees at all the agency’s facilities, including the Kennedy Space Center.

NASA Administrator elevated the agency to Stage 3 of NASA’s Response Framework late Tuesday, triggering new limits on travel and access to NASA centers. But critical work needed to maintain safety, security, launch dates and mission operations continues.

In Stage 4 of the Response Framework, NASA centers would effectively be shut down entirely, except for workers required to protect “life and critical infrastructure.”

There’s some added uncertainty about SpaceX’s upcoming launch schedule as engineers begin their investigation into the early engine shutdown on Wednesday’s mission.


Source: https://spaceflightnow.com/2020/03/18/falcon-9-rocket-overcomes-engine-failure-to-deploy-starlink-
Tytuł: Odp: [AS]SpaceX Readies First Batch of Starlink Satellites for Wednesday Night Launch
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Kwiecień 23, 2020, 18:02
Starlink passes 400 satellites with seventh dedicated launch
by Caleb Henry — April 22, 2020 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Starlink-7-879x485.png)
SpaceX now has 422 Starlink satellites in orbit. Credit: SpaceX webcast

WASHINGTON — SpaceX launched its seventh batch of Starlink satellites on a Falcon 9 rocket April 22, growing its internet constellation to 422 satellites in low Earth orbit.

The Falcon 9 lifted off at 3:30 p.m. Eastern from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, releasing its payload of 60 satellites 15 minutes later at an altitude of 224 kilometers above the Earth. There the 260-kilogram satellites will complete testing before climbing to an operational altitude of 550-kilometers using their onboard propulsion.

SpaceX landed the Falcon 9’s first stage almost nine minutes after lift off. The same booster had completed three earlier launches, all to low Earth orbit. SpaceX also reused the payload fairings from an August launch carrying the Amos-17 telecommunications satellite for Spacecom.

SpaceX now has enough Starlink satellites orbiting to start limited service in northern geographies, according to a teleconference SpaceX CEO Elon Musk gave in May 2019. Musk said Starlink needed at least 400 satellites to start partial geographic service (https://spacenews.com/musk-says-starlink-economically-viable-with-around-1000-satellites/).

SpaceX did not respond to SpaceNews inquiries April 13 and April 20 about when it will start service. The company reiterated in a mission overview document for its April 22 launch that service in Canada and the Northern U.S. should start this year, followed by near-global coverage in 2021.

SpaceX has FCC permission to operate nearly 1,600 Ku- and Ka-band satellites at 550 kilometers. Recently the company asked the FCC for authorization to fly another 2,800 at that altitude. SpaceX is planning a constellation of up to 12,000, or potentially 42,000 internet satellites, according to filings with U.S. and international regulators.


Source: https://spacenews.com/starlink-passes-400-satellites-with-seventh-dedicated-launch/
Tytuł: Odp: [AS]SpaceX Readies First Batch of Starlink Satellites for Wednesday Night Launch
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Kwiecień 25, 2020, 15:15
SpaceX’s Starlink network surpasses 400-satellite mark after successful launch
April 22, 2020 Stephen Clark [SFN]

(https://mk0spaceflightnoa02a.kinstacdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/star6_streak.jpg)
A Falcon 9 rocket streaks into the sky over Cape Canaveral in this long exposure photo. Credit: SpaceX

SpaceX launched 60 more spacecraft Wednesday to join the Starlink fleet beaming broadband signals around the world, while the company’s engineers move closer to debuting a sunshade that could reduce the satellites’ impacts on ground-based astronomy.

Riding 1.7 million pounds of thrust from nine Merlin main engines, a Falcon 9 rocket took off at 3:30:30 p.m. EDT (1930:30 GMT) Wednesday from pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The Falcon 9 launcher, standing 229 feet (70 meters) tall, tilted on a track northeast from Florida’s Space Coast and rocketed through a thin layer of high clouds on the way to orbit.

Two-and-a-half minutes after liftoff, the Falcon 9’s first stage booster shut down and separated to begin a controlled descent back into the atmosphere. The rocket’s single-engine upper stage ignited seconds later, and the Falcon 9 released its clamshell-like payload fairing more than three minutes into the mission.

Flying into space for the fourth time, the reusable first stage nailed a pinpoint landing on SpaceX’s drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean east of Charleston, South Carolina. Two recovery ships were stationed in the Atlantic to retrieve the rocket’s two-piece payload shroud, which was also recycled from a previous flight.


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Spaceflight Now @SpaceflightNow 9:54 PM - Apr 22, 2020
Here’s a replay of today’s launch from the Kennedy Space Center — the 84th by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket since 2010.

That makes the Falcon 9 the most-flown orbital-class US launch vehicle currently operational. https://spaceflightnow.com/2020/04/22/falcon-9-starlink-6-mission-status-center/ …

Twitter (https://twitter.com/SpaceflightNow/status/1253049532381827081?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1253049532381827081&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fspaceflightnow.com%2F2020%2F04%2F22%2Fspacexs-starlink-network-surpasses-400-satellite-mark-after-successful-launch%2F)

The Falcon 9 rocket released retention rods holding the Starlink satellites to the upper stage around 15 minutes after launch. Video from camera on the rocket showed the 60 flat-panel satellites — each with mass of about a quarter-ton — receding into space over the North Atlantic Ocean.

The satellites were each expected to extend their power-generating solar panel wing go through an activation sequence. Krypton ion thrusters on the spacecraft will boost them from their preliminary elliptical transfer orbit to an operational altitude of 341 miles (550 kilometers) over the coming weeks and months.

The successful launch Wednesday marked the 84th flight of a Falcon 9 rocket since June 2010. That makes SpaceX’s Falcon 9 the most-flown orbital-class U.S. launcher currently in operation, exceeding the 83 missions performed by the Atlas 5 rocket built by rival United Launch Alliance.

Wednesday’s launch was SpaceX’s seventh Falcon 9 mission of the year.

It was the first Falcon 9 launch since March 18, when one of the Falcon 9’s nine Merlin booster engines shut down prematurely. The rocket was able to recover from the engine failure, and still placed its payload of 60 Starlink satellites into the planned orbit.

Elon Musk, SpaceX’s founder and CEO, said Wednesday the engine problem was caused by a “small amount of isopropyl alcohol (cleaning fluid)” that was trapped in a “sensor dead leg,” or an area where it couldn’t flow through. The fluid ignited in flight, causing the engine to automatically shut down.

Lauren Lyons, a SpaceX engineer hosting the company’s launch webcast, said ground crews did not perform that particular cleaning procedure on the Falcon 9 rocket used Wednesday.


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Spaceflight Now@SpaceflightNow 9:48 PM - Apr 22, 2020
SpaceX’s next 60 Starlink satellites have deployed in orbit after a successful launch aboard a Falcon 9 rocket.

This gives SpaceX more than 400 satellites for its broadband Internet project. https://spaceflightnow.com/2020/04/22/falcon-9-starlink-6-mission-status-center/ …
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With Wednesday’s launch, SpaceX has delivered 422 Starlink satellites to space, including two prototypes that are now being deorbited. Since last May, SpaceX has orbited 420 Starlink spacecraft. Three of those relay stations are no longer in orbit, according to publicly-available U.S. military tracking data.

SpaceX’s next Starlink launch after Wednesday could happen as soon as early May on another Falcon 9 rocket mission from Cape Canaveral.

That will be followed by SpaceX’s first launch with astronauts on-board — scheduled for May 27 — to begin a test flight of the company’s Crew Dragon spaceship to the International Space Station.


SpaceX seeks to modify Starlink regulatory license

SpaceX has regulatory approval from the Federal Communications Commission to eventually field a fleet of up to 12,000 small Starlink broadband stations.

Officials say 24 launches are needed to provide global broadband service through the Starlink service. But the company could provide an interim level of service over parts of the Earth — such as Canada and northern parts of the United States — later this year, once SpaceX has launched around 720 satellites on 12 Falcon 9 flights.

SpaceX has modified the architecture of the Starlink network several times. Most recently, SpaceX submitted an application to the Federal Communication Commission on Friday proposing to operate more satellites in lower orbits than the FCC previously authorized.

The first phase of the Starlink network will include 1,584 satellites orbiting 341 miles (550 kilometers) above Earth in planes inclined 53 degrees to the equator. That part of the constellation, which SpaceX intends to launch through the end of the year, remains unchanged in SpaceX’s application.

SpaceX previously had regulatory approval from the FCC to operate another 2,825 satellites in higher orbits between 690 miles (1,110 kilometers) and 823 miles (1,325 kilometers) in altitude, in orbital planes inclined 53.8, 70, 74 and 81 degrees to the equator.


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Artist’s illustration of the distribution of satellites in SpaceX’s Starlink network. Credit: SpaceX

The modified plan submitted to the FCC by SpaceX foresees Ku-band and Ka-band satellites in the next phase of the Starlink network all operated at altitudes between 335 miles (540 kilometers) and 354 miles (570 kilometers) at inclinations of 53.2, 70 and 97.6 degrees.

The application covers 4,408 Starlink satellites, one fewer than SpaceX envisioned under the previous architecture.

In documentation submitted Friday to the FCC, SpaceX said lower altitude will put the satellites closer to Starlink consumers and allow the network “to provide low-latency broadband to unserved and underserved Americans that is on par with service previously only available in urban areas.”

The change will also improve Starlink service for U.S. government users in polar regions and allow for more rapid deployment of the network, SpaceX said.

Flying Starlink satellites in lower orbits will help ensure they re-enter the atmosphere a shorter time in case of failure. And the spacecraft will broadcast signals at reduced power levels because they are closer to Earth, which SpaceX said will allow the Starlink fleet to be compliant with limits to reduce radio interference with other satellite and terrestrial wireless networks.

Last week’s application to modify SpaceX’s FCC license is the latest in a series of adjustments to the Starlink architecture. Before the first launch of 60 Starlink satellites last year, SpaceX received FCC approval to migrate the positions of the fleet’s first 1,584 satellites from 714 miles (1,150 kilometers) to 341 miles (550 kilometers).

In December, the FCC granted a SpaceX request to reconfigure the distribution of the Starlink satellites in different orbital planes. SpaceX said that request was intended to expand Starlink coverage faster around the United States without the need for more satellites.

SpaceX working on sunshade for future Starlink satellites

At lower altitudes, the Starlink satellites will fly in a region with busier space traffic. SpaceX says its Starlink spacecraft can maneuver to avoid collisions with other objects in orbit, and it releases orbital data on the Starlink satellites so other operators can also perform evasive maneuvers.

Astronomers have also raised concerns about the brightness of the Starlink satellites, which could interfere with ground-based telescope images, particularly around sunrise and sunset.

The Starlink satellites reflect more sunlight than SpaceX or astronomers anticipated before the first dedicated Starlink launch last year. The American Astronomical Society and other groups are working with SpaceX to try and limit the satellites’ impacts on astronomy.

One of the ground-based facilities most at risk of interference from the Starlink satellites is the U.S. government-funded Vera Rubin Observatory, formerly known as the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope. The observatory under construction in Chile will capture deep, wide-field images of the entire southern sky, allowing astronomers to learn more about dark energy and dark matter, and detect potentially hazardous asteroids with orbits near Earth, among other objectives.

Steve Kahn, director of the Vera Rubin Observatory, said Wednesday that SpaceX is responsive to astronomers’ concerns.

“They’ve been quite cooperative in working with us,” Kahn told Spaceflight Now in an interview.

“SpaceX is committed to promoting all forms of space exploration, which is why it has already taken a number of proactive steps to ensure it does not materially impact optical astronomy,” the company wrote in Friday’s application to the FCC, which does not have regulatory authority over the brightness of satellites. “SpaceX is working with U.S. and international astronomy organizations and observatories to measure scientifically the actual impact of its satellites.”

Flying more Starlink satellites at lower altitudes could make the relay nodes appear brighter from the ground, but there will be fewer Starlink satellites visible in the sky at one time. The spacecraft at lower altitudes will also spend less time illuminated by sunlight.

“In some respects, that’s good for astronomy because the Earth’s shadow is a cone,” said Pat Seitzer, an astronomer and orbital debris expert at the University of Michigan. “So the satellites at higher altitude will be visible longer into the darkest part of the night, but because they’re closer now, they’ll be brighter. So we’ll just have to sort out and see how that works.”

Seitzer agreed with SpaceX that the lower operating altitude for the Starlink satellites “really helps them for space safety, in terms of space debris or orbital debris considerations.”


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An astronaut on the International Space Station captured this view of a string of Starlink satellites April 13. Credit: NASA

One of 60 Starlink satellites launched Jan. 6 carried a new darker coating intended to reduce the spacecraft’s reflectivity. SpaceX said last month that preliminary data indicated a “notable reduction” in the brightness of that satellite, which has been dubbed “DarkSat.”

“The darkening that they did on DarkSat is about a factor of two-and-a-half fainter — so about 1 magnitude in astronomical units — and it’s still visible to the unaided eye under excellent conditions,” Seitzer said. “That is you’re a person with great vision sitting on top of a mountaintop faraway from the city lights.”

Kahn agreed, adding that the darker coating was a step in the right direction for astronomers.

“Beyond this (darkening) treatment, SpaceX is developing new mitigation efforts that it plans to test in the coming months,” SpaceX wrote in Friday’s FCC filing. “Additionally, SpaceX will make satellite tracking data available so astronomers can better coordinate their observations with our satellites.”

One change SpaceX is studying is the addition of a sunshade, or visor, to unfurl like an umbrella on Starlink satellites to reduce the amount of sunlight glinting off the spacecraft.

Musk tweeted Wednesday that SpaceX is taking “key steps to reduce satellite brightness.” He wrote that the satellites “should be much less noticeable” when they’re flying at lower altitudes soon after launch.

He said SpaceX is changing the angle of each satellite’s solar panel, and all of the Starlink satellites will have sunshades beginning with the fleet’s ninth launch. That launch is expected in a couple of months.

Beyond the 4,400 Ku-band and Ka-band satellites covered in Friday’s application for a modified FCC license, SpaceX plans to launch another 7,500 V-band data relay stations into orbits around 214 miles (345.6 kilometers) in altitude. The FCC has already approved SpaceX to operate the V-band network.


Source: https://spaceflightnow.com/2020/04/22/spacexs-starlink-network-surpasses-400-satellite-mark-after-successful-launch/
Tytuł: Odp: [AS]SpaceX Readies First Batch of Starlink Satellites for Wednesday Night Launch
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Czerwiec 04, 2020, 15:05
SpaceX to add sunshades to all future Starlink satellites
by Caleb Henry — May 27, 2020 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/visorsat.jpg)
SpaceX's VisorSat will use sunshades modeled on sun visors in a car windshield to keep sunlight from reflecting off the satellite's antennas, reducing its brightness as seen from the ground. Credit: SpaceX

WASHINGTON — SpaceX has decided to add sunshades to future Starlink satellites to reduce their impact on astronomy, having opted for constellation-wide implementation of the reflective hardware.

Patricia Cooper, SpaceX’s vice president of satellite government relations, said May 26 that SpaceX has another 80 or so Starlink satellites it is preparing to launch based on their current design before regularly incorporating sunshades that block sunlight from hitting reflective parts of each satellite.

“We would have about 500 satellites at their current brightness, and then all satellites beyond that would have these sunshades,” Cooper said during a webinar hosted by the American Astronomical Society and the Satellite Industry Association. “That is the ratio we would be looking at.”

SpaceX has launched 422 Starlink satellites, including two prototypes, since 2018. The company is building and launching an initial constellation of roughly 4,400 satellites, though regulatory filings indicate the company could grow Starlink to 12,000 or even 42,000 satellites.

SpaceX’s first visor-equipped satellite, dubbed VisorSat, was expected to launch May 17, but was delayed because of Tropical Storm Arthur until after the company’s highly anticipated Crew Demo 2 mission, scheduled for May 27 at 4:33 p.m. Eastern. Cooper said SpaceX has yet to announce a date for its next Starlink mission.

SpaceX typically launches Starlink satellites in batches of 60 on Falcon 9 rockets, a rate that would suggest one or two more launches would occur without Starlink satellites routinely equipped with sunshades. Cooper said SpaceX will likely retire early Starlink satellites more quickly to reduce their impact on astronomy.

“The earlier version of our satellites that we’ve launched, we don’t expect them to have a complete five-year life span,” she said. “We are expecting to cut in the VisorSat mitigation at the point that we are launching still in the 500s of satellites.”

Tony Tyson, chief scientist for the Vera Rubin Observatory, said Starlink satellites need to be dimmed to an apparent magnitude of seven so that astronomers can work around them using image processing. Recent observations show Starlink satellites at around magnitude five. DarkSat, a Starlink satellite treated with an experimental darkening coating, was observed at roughly magnitude six, he said.

“Progress is being made, [but] we still have to get to seventh magnitude somehow,” Tyson said. SpaceX is working with astronomers on reducing the impact of Starlink, he said.

Cooper, when asked if SpaceX had the same goal of lowering Starlink’s brightness to magnitude seven, said it is an “interesting threshold,” but did not commit to meeting that target.


Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-to-add-sunshades-to-all-future-starlink-satellites/
Tytuł: Odp: [AS]SpaceX Readies First Batch of Starlink Satellites for Wednesday Night Launch
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Czerwiec 04, 2020, 15:07
SpaceX to debut satellite-dimming sunshade on Starlink launch next month
April 28, 2020 Stephen Clark [SFN]

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SpaceX plans to debut a new sunshade structure on its future Starlink satellites. Credit: SpaceX

A new sunshade, or visor, designed to reduce the brightness of SpaceX’s Starlink broadband Internet satellites will debut on the company’s next launch, a measure intended to alleviate astronomers’ concerns about impacts on observations through ground-based telescopes, SpaceX founder Elon Musk said Monday.

Beginning with the next launch of Starlink satellites — scheduled as soon as May 7 from Cape Canaveral — SpaceX will try out a new light-blocking panel to make the spacecraft less visible to skywatchers and astronomers.

“We have a radio-transparent foam that will deploy nearly upon the satellite being released (from the rocket),” Musk said Monday in a virtual meeting of the National Academies’ Decadal Survey on Astronomy and Astrophysics 2020 panel, a committee charged with setting the top priorities for U.S. astronomy for the next decade.

Musk said the new material will block sunlight from reaching the satellites’ antennas, comparing it to a sun visor in a car’s windshield. Reflected sunlight at dawn and dusk is what makes the satellites visible from the ground.

The sunshade is transparent to radio signals. SpaceX has nicknamed the new Starlink satellite design “VisorSat.”

On seven launches since last May, SpaceX has deployed 420 Starlink satellites to begin building out the Starlink network. The satellites are designed to provide global broadband Internet service, and SpaceX eventually plans to launch thousands of the quarter-ton, flat-panel data relay stations to orbits below an altitude of about 354 miles (570 kilometers).

“Using our low orbital altitude and flat satellite geometry to our advantage, we designed an RF-transparent deployable visor for the satellite that blocks the light from reaching most of the satellite body and all of the diffuse parts of the main body,” SpaceX wrote in an update (https://www.spacex.com/) posted on the company’s website this week. “This visor lays flat on the chassis during launch and deploys during satellite separation from Falcon 9. The visor prevents light from reflecting off of the diffuse antennas by blocking the light from reaching the antennas altogether.”

SpaceX says that every future Starlink satellite will be fitted with the sun visor beginning with a subsequent launch in June.

Five Falcon 9 rocket launches so far this year have carried 300 Starlink satellites into orbit — 60 at a time — most recently on April 22. The next Falcon 9 launch for the Starlink network is set for May 7 at approximately 7:30 a.m. EDT (1130 GMT).

The sunshade is the latest change SpaceX has introduced on Starlink satellites in response to complaints from astronomers about the network’s impacts on observations from ground-based telescopes.


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This 333-second exposure taken last year by the Dark Energy Camera on the Blanco 4-meter telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory shows 19 streaks attributed to Starlink satellites passing through the camera’s field-of-view shortly after their launch Nov. 11 from Cape Canaveral. Credit: NSF’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory/NSF/AURA/CTIO/DELVE

The first 60 Starlink satellites launched last May were much brighter than SpaceX or astronomers anticipated, prompting a series of discussions between the aerospace company and the astronomy community.

SpaceX launched a satellite with a darker coating in January, and astronomers noticed an improvement. SpaceX said last month that preliminary data indicated a “notable reduction” in the brightness of that satellite, which has been dubbed “DarkSat.”

“The darkening that they did on DarkSat is about a factor of two-and-a-half fainter — so about 1 magnitude in astronomical units — and it’s still visible to the unaided eye under excellent conditions,” said Pat Seitzer, an astronomer and orbital debris expert at the University of Michigan.. “That is you’re a person with great vision sitting on top of a mountaintop faraway from the city lights.”

But the darker coating has drawbacks, SpaceX said. Black surfaces in space get hot, so the company is moving forward with the sun visor solution instead.

“This avoids thermal issues due to black paint, and is expected to be darker than DarkSat since it will block all light from reaching the white diffuse antennas,” SpaceX said.

The Starlink satellites are brightest soon after a launch, when they are flying at an altitude of around 200 miles (300 kilometers). Once deployed from the Falcon 9 rocket, the spacecraft unfurl their solar array wings to generate electricity, then activate krypton ion thrusters to begin climbing into their higher operational orbit some 341 miles (550 kilometers) above Earth.

SpaceX commands the satellites to fly in a special attitude, or orientation, during the orbit-raising maneuvers. This minimizes drag on the satellites.

“This low-drag and thrusting flight configuration resembles an open book, where the solar array is laid out flat in front of the vehicle,” SpaceX said. “When Starlink satellites are orbit-raising, they roll to a limited extent about the velocity vector for power generation, always keeping the cross sectional area minimized while keeping the antennas facing Earth enough to stay in contact with the ground stations.”


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Credit: SpaceX

After the satellites reach their operational orbit, SpaceX flies the spacecraft in a different configuration called the “shark-fin” attitude. In this orientation, the solar panel points away from the Earth.

When the satellites are in the “open book” configuration at lower altitudes, sunlight reflects off the craft’s solar arrays, making them more visible from the ground.

The sun visor is designed to reduce brightness while the Starlink satellites are on station at their operational altitude. SpaceX is debuting a different technique to address brightness concerns during the early weeks of each satellite’s life, when the spacecraft are flying closer to Earth.

“We’re taking several steps to reduce brightness in orbit-raising, which has definitely startled a lot of people around the world,” Musk said Monday. “I’ve gotten quite a lot of feedback on that front. So we’re changing the angles. That should be something that happens even this week — the satellites being commanded to a different angle that is less bright.”

“We’re currently testing rolling the satellite so the vector of the sun is in-plane with the satellite body, i.e. so the satellite is knife-edge to the sun,” SpaceX said. “This would reduce the light reflected onto Earth by reducing the surface area that receives light.”

The new roll maneuver can be implemented when the satellites are climbing to higher altitude, and when they pause in an intermediate orbit to align with their operational planes within the Starlink network.

SpaceX said the new “orientation roll” maneuver will diminish the amount of power generated by each satellite’s solar panel, and reduce contact time between the spacecraft and ground controllers. The change also points star tracker cameras at the Earth and the sun, reducing the satellite’s attitude knowledge, according to SpaceX.

“There will be a small percentage of instances when the satellites cannot roll all the way to true knife edge to the sun due to one of the aforementioned constraints,” SpaceX said. “This could result in the occasional set of Starlink satellites in the orbit raise of flight that are temporarily visible for one part of an orbit.”

Musk described the changes as “quite simple.”

“I think, with the benefit of hindsight, the changes seem quite simple, which is to make sure that the orientation of the satellites is not such that we’re reflecting the sun,” he said. “And to either darken the specular surfaces or the white surfaces, or shade them, is really quite simple actually. It’s a little bit silly in hindsight. It’s not that hard.

“Our objectives, generally, are to make the satellites invisible to the naked eye within a week, and to minimize the impact on astronomy, especially so that we do not saturate observatory detectors and inhibit discoveries,” Musk said.


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Credit: SpaceX

The satellites that launched without the brightness mitigations will likely be retired and will re-enter the atmosphere and burn up within three or four years, Musk said. They will be replaced with improved satellites.

SpaceX has regulatory approval from the Federal Communications Commission to eventually field a fleet of up to 12,000 small Starlink broadband stations.

Officials say 24 launches are needed to provide global broadband service through the Starlink service. But the company could provide an interim level of service over parts of the Earth — such as Canada and northern parts of the United States — later this year, once SpaceX has launched around 720 satellites on 12 Falcon 9 flights.

Musk tweeted last week that SpaceX aims to begin private “beta testing” of the Starlink service within about three months, followed by a public trial period in six months.

SpaceX has modified the architecture of the Starlink network several times. Most recently, SpaceX submitted an application to the Federal Communication Commission on Friday proposing to operate more satellites in lower orbits than the FCC previously authorized.

Rather than launching more than 2,800 of the Starlink satellites to higher orbits between 690 miles (1,110 kilometers) and 823 miles (1,325 kilometers) in altitude, SpaceX will instead deploy the spacecraft closer to Earth. The change allows the network to provide consumers with better Internet service, and also reduces the number of Starlink satellites that might be visible in the sky at any one time.

“We think, for a lot of reasons, that 550 (kilometers) and below is the right approach for a LEO (Low Earth Orbit) broadband situation,” Musk said. “Your data rate is going to be four times better than say at 1,100 kilometers. That’s a close approximation. It’s also better for astronomy.”

The lower orbit also ensures atmospheric drag will cause dead satellites to re-enter the atmosphere more quickly, SpaceX said.


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This diagram illustrates when the Starlink satellites are most visible, shortly after sunset and shortly before sunrise. Credit: SpaceX

Musk said 20,000 to 30,000 Starlink satellites may be needed to provide the level of Internet service envisioned by SpaceX, which aims to provide connectivity to the “3 or 4 percent of the least-served portion of the Earth.”

“So it’s not a huge percentage, but it’s for those that have the least service,” Musk said Monday. “You do want to have probably on the order of 20,000 to 30,000 satellites, something like that. But not 200,000, I don’t think.”

SpaceX has filed documentation with the International Telecommunication Union for up to 30,000 additional Starlink satellites beyond the 12,000 spacecraft already authorized by the FCC.

It’s the large number of Internet satellites planned by SpaceX and other companies, such as Amazon, that worries astronomers.

“SpaceX is committed to the progress of science, both in the United States and elsewhere,” Musk said. “So we’ll do our best to ensure that we’re not going to interfere with any facilities anywhere in the world.”

One of the ground-based facilities most at risk of interference from the Starlink satellites is the U.S. government-funded Vera Rubin Observatory, formerly known as the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope. The observatory under construction in Chile will capture deep, wide-field images of the entire southern sky, allowing astronomers to learn more about dark energy and dark matter, and detect potentially hazardous asteroids with orbits near Earth, among other objectives.

Steve Kahn, director of the Vera Rubin Observatory, said last week that SpaceX is responsive to astronomers’ concerns.

“They’ve been quite cooperative in working with us,” Kahn told Spaceflight Now in an interview.

Scientists will measure the brightness of the new VisorSat spacecraft after launch to gauge the effectiveness of the sunshade. If it works as advertised, the sun visor could limit the impacts of the Starlink satellites on the Vera Rubin Observatory.

Musk pitches astronomers on Starship’s ability to launch giant space telescopes

Toward the end of Monday’s virtual meeting, Musk expressed interest in building and launching a new space-based observatory using SpaceX’s next-generation Starship launch vehicle.

“I’d be pretty interested in trying to figure out how to help launch and possibly build a big satellite, a big observatory in space,” Musk said. “Maybe … we can get together and talk about what would be a really exciting space observatory, like a planet imager or something like that.”

The decadal survey panel was chartered to prioritize which space-based observatories NASA should pursue after the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope and the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope.

“I’m really interested in the advancement of science, and to understand what the heck is going on in this universe,” Musk said.

SpaceX says from the Starlink Internet business will help fund development of the Starship. When coupled with a new first stage booster SpaceX calls the Super Heavy, the Starship will be able to loft more than 100 metric tons, or 220,000 pounds, of cargo to low Earth orbit.

“Starship has the capability to transport satellites, payloads, crew, and cargo to a variety of orbits and Earth, lunar, or Martian landing sites,” SpaceX wrote in a Starship user’s guide released last month.

The Starship’s payload envelope is also significantly larger than any other existing rocket. Its diameter will measure around 30 feet, or 9 meters, allowing the Starship to launch big telescopes without requiring the mirrors be folded to fit inside a payload fairing.

“The launch situation has changed quite dramatically from where it was in 2010,” Musk said. “It will be very much changed, I think, in even five years. I think Starship … will be flying quite soon. I think you’ll see regular flights within a couple of years, and that’s a very big rocket.

“It allows for space telescopes to be at least transported to orbit at probably an order of magnitude lower cost than in the past,” Musk said. “So that’s pretty important to factor into future plans.”


Source: https://spaceflightnow.com/2020/04/28/spacex-to-debut-satellite-dimming-sunshade-on-starlink-launch-next-month/
Tytuł: Odp: [AS]SpaceX Readies First Batch of Starlink Satellites for Wednesday Night Launch
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Czerwiec 04, 2020, 15:07
SpaceX launches eighth Starlink mission, first VisorSat satellite
by Caleb Henry — June 3, 2020 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Starlink-8-879x485.png)
SpaceX launched its eighth batch of 60 Starlink satellites June 3.

WASHINGTON — SpaceX launched a batch of 60 Starlink broadband satellites June 3, including one with a deployable sunshield meant to test out a new way to reduce the brightness of future satellites.

The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 9:25 p.m. Eastern from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, and deployed the satellites into low Earth orbit 15 minutes later.

The rocket’s first stage landed on SpaceX’s drone ship “Just Read the Instructions” about nine minutes after lift off. The launch marked the fifth use of that booster, which previously flew one mission to geostationary transfer orbit and three missions to low Earth orbit, the latest being in January, also for Starlink. The launch was also the first time SpaceX successfully recovered a first-stage booster after five flights.

SpaceX has launched 482 Starlink satellites, counting Wednesday’s launch and two prototypes launched in 2018. The company had planned its latest Starlink mission for May, but was delayed by Tropical Storm Arthur until after the company’s Demo-2 Crew Dragon mission to the International Space Station, which took place May 30.

May was the first month this year SpaceX did not conduct a Starlink launch. The company had averaged one Starlink launch a month before the delay. SpaceX was originally targeting two Starlink launches a month throughout 2020.

SpaceX is building and launching a constellation of up to 12,000, and potentially 42,000 satellites in low Earth orbit to support a global satellite internet service. The company expects to start service late this year in Canada and parts of the United States.

SpaceX plans to add deployable visors to all future Starlink satellites after launching around 500 with their current design, Patricia Cooper, SpaceX’s vice president of satellite government relations, said during a webinar last week.

“We would have about 500 satellites at their current brightness, and then all satellites beyond that would have these sunshades,” Cooper said during a webinar hosted by the American Astronomical Society and the Satellite Industry Association. “That is the ratio we would be looking at.”

SpaceX is seeking to lessen the brightness of Starlink satellites to reduce their impact on astronomy.


Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-launches-eighth-starlink-mission-first-visorsat-satellite/
Tytuł: Odp: [AS]SpaceX Readies First Batch of Starlink Satellites for Wednesday Night Launch
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Czerwiec 04, 2020, 15:08
SpaceX sets new mark in rocket reuse 10 years after first Falcon 9 launch
June 4, 2020 Stephen Clark [SFN]

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A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off at 9:25 p.m. EDT Wednesday (0125 GMT Thursday) from pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station with 60 more Starlink Internet satellites. Credit: Stephen Clark / Spaceflight Now

On the eve of the 10th anniversary of the Falcon 9 rocket’s debut flight, SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 from Cape Canaveral with a reused booster Wednesday, then landed the previously-flown booster for a record fifth time after sending 60 more Starlink Internet satellites into space.

The 229-foot-tall (70-meter) Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 9:25 p.m. EDT Wednesday (0125 GMT Thursday).

Nine Merlin 1D engines lit the sky orange as the Falcon 9 rocket climbed into an overcast sky over Florida’s Space Coast with 1.7 million pounds of ground-shaking thrust. Two-and-a-half minutes later, the first stage turned off its engines and dropped away to head for a pinpoint touchdown on SpaceX’s offshore landing platform, or drone ship.

The rocket’s upper stage fired into orbit with the 60 Starlink satellites, and then released all of the flat-panel spacecraft at one time around 15 minutes after liftoff in a preliminary elliptical orbit. The satellites were expected to deploy their solar arrays and spread out before beginning orbit-raising maneuvers to enter SpaceX’s Starlink constellation around 341 miles (550 kilometers) above Earth.

The launch Wednesday came a little more than four days after SpaceX’s previous launch from the Florida spaceport.

A different Falcon 9 rocket took off Saturday from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center — a few miles north of pad 40 — with SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station. The launch Saturday was the first time astronauts flew into orbit from U.S. soil since the final liftoff of the space shuttle program July 8, 2011.

Hurley and Behnken docked with the space station aboard their Crew Dragon capsule Sunday, and the Falcon 9 booster that carried them aloft returned to Port Canaveral Tuesday after landing on SpaceX’s ocean-going rocket recovery vessel named “Of Course I Still Love You.”

SpaceX’s other rocket retrieval drone ship, named “Just Read the Instructions,” was dispatched into the Atlantic Ocean before the other landing platform made it back to the Florida Coast with the booster from the Crew Dragon launch.

The drone ship Just Read the Instructions, or JRTI, was used for a rocket landing off Florida’s coast for the first time Wednesday night, following a transit from California after supporting a series of Falcon 9 missions from Vandenberg Air Force Base, the primary launch site on the U.S. West Coast.

After detaching from the Falcon 9’s upper stage and the rocket’s payload stack of 60 Starlink spacecraft, the 15-story-tall first stage booster maneuvered using thrusters to fly tail first, extended four stabilizing aerodynamic grid fins, and plunged back into the thick, lower atmosphere.

An entry burn using three of the first stage’s Merlin engines helped target the booster for landing on the drone ship, positioned in the Atlantic Ocean roughly 230 miles (370 kilometers) east of Charleston, South Carolina. The rocket’s center engine fired just before reaching the vessel, and four carbon fiber landing legs extended as the booster touched down on the drone ship.

With the entry into service of a second drone ship in Florida, SpaceX can remove one hurdle to achieving a faster cadence of missions from its two launch pads on the Space Coast.


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Spaceflight Now@SpaceflightNow
The Falcon 9 rocket's first stage used on tonight’s launch has landed on SpaceX’s drone ship “Just Read the Instructions” in the Atlantic Ocean. https://spaceflightnow.com/2020/06/03/falcon-9-starlink-7-mission-status-center/
3:37 AM · Jun 4, 2020 Twitter (https://twitter.com/SpaceflightNow/status/1268356238594781184?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1268356238594781184%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fspaceflightnow.com%2F2020%2F06%2F04%2Fspacex-sets-new-mark-in-rocket-reuse-10-years-after-first-falcon-9-launch%2F)

This marks the first time a Falcon 9 booster has successfully launched and landed five times

Wednesday night’s launch of 60 more Starlink satellites was delayed from last month after Tropical Storm Arthur brought high winds and rough seas to the downrange recovery area northeast of Cape Canaveral in the Atlantic Ocean, where SpaceX’s drone ship needed to be positioned for landing of the Falcon 9’s first stage booster.

SpaceX decided to use the drone ship Of Course I Still Love You — originally deployed into the Atlantic for the Starlink launch — to recover the Falcon 9 first stage from the Crew Dragon mission.

With a single operational drone ship, SpaceX would require more than a week between Falcon 9 flights from different pads at Cape Canaveral, and still be able to retrieve both boosters for future flights. With two drone ships, SpaceX has demonstrated the capability to launch two Falcon 9 rockets from Florida and recover both boosters in a span of four days.

Two additional SpaceX vessels were in the Atlantic Ocean for Wednesday night’s launch to attempt to catch the two halves of the Falcon 9 rocket’s payload fairing, the aerodynamic shroud the shields satellites during the first few minutes of flight. Once in space, the Falcon 9 sheds the fairing halves to fall back to Earth with the aid of parafoils.

SpaceX has two ships equipped with giant nets to try to catch the fairings as they come back to Earth.

The booster and fairing recovery efforts pursued by SpaceX are unique the launch industry, and SpaceX made it a reality after a series of trial-and-error experiments and step-by-step redesigns of the Falcon 9 rocket.

SpaceX launched its first Falcon 9 rocket on a test flight 10 years ago Thursday from pad 40, the same launch complex that served as the departure point for Wednesday night’s mission.

Spaceflight Now covered the first Falcon 9 launch in 2010. Read our story (https://spaceflightnow.com/falcon9/001/100604launch/index.html) from that day.


(https://mk0spaceflightnoa02a.kinstacdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/10-2.jpg)
SpaceX’s first Falcon 9 rocket took off from pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on June 4, 2010, carrying a mock-up of the company’s Dragon cargo capsule. Credit: SpaceX

The launch Wednesday night marked the 86th flight of a Falcon 9 rocket since its debut in June 2010, and the ninth Falcon 9 launch so far in 2020.

While the Falcon 9 still uses the same fundamental launch architecture as the first version of the rocket in 2010, SpaceX has revamped numerous technological details. For example, the Falcon 9’s Merlin engines have gone through multiple upgrades to produce more thrust, and SpaceX stretched the length of the rocket’s kerosene and liquid oxygen propellant tanks to gain performance.

When those upgrades proved not enough, SpaceX began loading liquid propellants into the Falcon 9 that are chilled closer to their freezing temperature. The change, known as propellant densification, allowed engineers to cram more propellants into the Falcon 9 to further improve its lift capacity.

There have also been changes to make the Falcon 9 reliable enough to carry astronauts, as the rocket did for the first time Saturday. And SpaceX has redesigned parts of the rocket’s helium pressurization system to address the causes of two catastrophic failures — one in flight in 2015 and another on the launch pad in 2016 — that destroyed a pair of Falcon 9 rockets and their payloads.

But the most dramatic change to the Falcon 9’s design since 2010 has been in how SpaceX lands and reuses the first stage boosters.

SpaceX originally hoped to use a parachute to slow down returning rocket boosters for a gentle splashdown at sea. When that didn’t work, engineers devised a way to land the rocket vertically using variable thrust from the booster’s throttleable Merlin engines.

In some cases, when a satellite payload is light enough, the Falcon 9 first stage carries enough reserve propellant to reverse course and return to an onshore landing pad near the launch site. In cases where a payload is heavier, or if a satellite needs more energy from the Falcon 9 to go to a more distant orbit, the Falcon 9 booster arcs toward a landing on a downrange drone ship after releasing the rocket’s upper stage to continue the push into space.

Avoiding a splashdown in the ocean ensures sensitive engine components are not exposed to corrosive salt water, easing refurbishment and reuse.

SpaceX installed landing lets, aerodynamic fins and a heat shield on Falcon 9 boosters to make the recovery experiments a success. The company first recovered a Falcon 9 first stage intact on a land-based pad in December 2015, then successfully landed on a drone ship at sea for the first time in April 2016.

With Wednesday night’s booster landing, SpaceX has recovered 53 Falcon rockets, including boosters used on the company’s triple-body Falcon Heavy launcher.

The achievements have allowed SpaceX to reduce its launch costs — in some cases below $50 million — and caused rival launch providers to change plans, cut prices, and develop new rockets to try to compete with the Falcon 9.

SpaceX has won commercial business that previously went to international launch companies, and the company is now certified to launch NASA astronauts and sensitive U.S. military satellites.

Although SpaceX’s relatively low launch prices compared to competitors has lured customers from around the world, the bulk of the Falcon 9 flights in recent months have been dedicated to the company’s own satellite constellation.

The Starlink fleet could eventually number tens of thousands of satellites to beam broadband Internet services to customers lacking reliable, high-speed connectivity via terrestrial networks. Designed for low-latency broadband links, the Starlink network could be used by rural customers, support schools, hospitals and businesses in developing countries, and provide service to the U.S. military.


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Spaceflight Now@SpaceflightNow
Starlink deployment confirmed! This video from aboard the Falcon 9 upper stage shows the release of retention rods holding the Starlink broadband satellites on the rocket.
https://spaceflightnow.com/2020/06/03/falcon-9-starlink-7-mission-status-center/
3:45 AM · Jun 4, 2020 Twitter (https://twitter.com/SpaceflightNow/status/1268358145295945728?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1268358145295945728%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fspaceflightnow.com%2F2020%2F06%2F04%2Fspacex-sets-new-mark-in-rocket-reuse-10-years-after-first-falcon-9-launch%2F)

That allowed the 60 flat-panel satellites to fly free of the launcher in orbit.

With Wednesday’s flight, SpaceX has launched 480 Starlink satellites on eight dedicated Falcon 9 missions since May 2010.

SpaceX aims to launch around 1,000 more Starlink satellites later this year and next year to begin offering worldwide Internet service. Initial beta testing of the Starlink network could begin later this year, beginning in higher latitude regions like Canada and the northern United States, the company says.

Thousands more Starlink spacecraft could launch in the coming years to meet global demand, according to SpaceX.

A new sunshade to reduce the brightness (https://spaceflightnow.com/2020/04/28/spacex-to-debut-satellite-dimming-sunshade-on-starlink-launch-next-month/) of the Starlink satellites was also due to be demonstrated on one of the spacecraft on Wednesday night’s launch. The umbrella-like visor will block sunlight from reaching the shiniest parts of the flat-panel spacecraft, making them less visible from the ground.

Scientists have raised concerns that thousands of Starlink satellites — as envisioned by SpaceX — could impact astronomical observations through ground-based telescopes. So far, SpaceX has answered with an experimental darkening treatment that offered some reduction in visibility, and the company says it is changing the orientation of the Starlink satellites during the period shortly after launch to turn their solar panels away from the sun.

The sunshade should provide a more significant dimming effect, SpaceX says.

With Wednesday night’s mission in the books, SpaceX plans two more Falcon 9 launches later this month from pad 40 and pad 39A to deliver more Starlink satellites into orbit from Cape Canaveral. SpaceX is also gearing up for the launch of a U.S. military GPS navigation satellite from pad 40 no earlier than June 30.


Source: https://spaceflightnow.com/2020/06/04/spacex-sets-new-mark-in-rocket-reuse-10-years-after-first-falcon-9-launch/
Tytuł: Odp: [AS]SpaceX Readies First Batch of Starlink Satellites for Wednesday Night Launch
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Czerwiec 12, 2020, 22:21
SpaceX to add sunshades to all future Starlink satellites
by Caleb Henry — May 27, 2020 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/visorsat.jpg)
SpaceX's VisorSat will use sunshades modeled on sun visors in a car windshield to keep sunlight from reflecting off the satellite's antennas, reducing its brightness as seen from the ground. Credit: SpaceX

WASHINGTON — SpaceX has decided to add sunshades to future Starlink satellites to reduce their impact on astronomy, having opted for constellation-wide implementation of the reflective hardware.

Patricia Cooper, SpaceX’s vice president of satellite government relations, said May 26 that SpaceX has another 80 or so Starlink satellites it is preparing to launch based on their current design before regularly incorporating sunshades that block sunlight from hitting reflective parts of each satellite.

“We would have about 500 satellites at their current brightness, and then all satellites beyond that would have these sunshades,” Cooper said during a webinar hosted by the American Astronomical Society and the Satellite Industry Association. “That is the ratio we would be looking at.”

SpaceX has launched 422 Starlink satellites, including two prototypes, since 2018. The company is building and launching an initial constellation of roughly 4,400 satellites, though regulatory filings indicate the company could grow Starlink to 12,000 or even 42,000 satellites.

SpaceX’s first visor-equipped satellite, dubbed VisorSat, was expected to launch May 17, but was delayed because of Tropical Storm Arthur until after the company’s highly anticipated Crew Demo 2 mission, scheduled for May 27 at 4:33 p.m. Eastern. Cooper said SpaceX has yet to announce a date for its next Starlink mission.

SpaceX typically launches Starlink satellites in batches of 60 on Falcon 9 rockets, a rate that would suggest one or two more launches would occur without Starlink satellites routinely equipped with sunshades. Cooper said SpaceX will likely retire early Starlink satellites more quickly to reduce their impact on astronomy.

“The earlier version of our satellites that we’ve launched, we don’t expect them to have a complete five-year life span,” she said. “We are expecting to cut in the VisorSat mitigation at the point that we are launching still in the 500s of satellites.”

Tony Tyson, chief scientist for the Vera Rubin Observatory, said Starlink satellites need to be dimmed to an apparent magnitude of seven so that astronomers can work around them using image processing. Recent observations show Starlink satellites at around magnitude five. DarkSat, a Starlink satellite treated with an experimental darkening coating, was observed at roughly magnitude six, he said.

“Progress is being made, [but] we still have to get to seventh magnitude somehow,” Tyson said. SpaceX is working with astronomers on reducing the impact of Starlink, he said.

Cooper, when asked if SpaceX had the same goal of lowering Starlink’s brightness to magnitude seven, said it is an “interesting threshold,” but did not commit to meeting that target.


Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-to-add-sunshades-to-all-future-starlink-satellites/
Tytuł: Odp: [AS]SpaceX Readies First Batch of Starlink Satellites for Wednesday Night Launch
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Czerwiec 12, 2020, 22:58
Army’s evaluation of Starlink broadband to focus on reliability, vulnerability
by Sandra Erwin — May 27, 2020 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/original-1-879x485.jpg)
The Army is interested in commercial LEO broadband to supplement existing satcom and terrestrial systems. Credit: U.S. Army

Gen. Murray: “It’s about figuring out what capabilities they can provide, and what vulnerabilities do they have?"

WASHINGTON — The upcoming evaluation of SpaceX’s Starlink broadband by the U.S. Army will look primarily at the reliability of the service and potential vulnerabilities of the satellites to hostile attacks, a senior Army official said May 27.

The Army on May 20 signed a three-year agreement with SpaceX (https://spacenews.com/u-s-army-signs-deal-with-spacex-to-assess-starlink-broadband/) to experiment using Starlink broadband to move data across military networks.

“I would view this as exploratory,” Gen. John Murray, commander of the U.S. Army Futures Command, told reporters on Wednesday on a Defense Writers Group conference call.

“It’s about figuring out what capabilities they can provide, and what vulnerabilities do they have?” said Murray.

The Army Futures Command advises Army leaders on what investments the service should make to modernize weapons and information systems. One of the priorities identified by Futures Command is high capacity, low latency communications for units in the field that need to move large amounts of data.

A space internet service from low Earth orbit like Starlink would be used by the Army to supplement geosynchronous satellite-based and terrestrial communications.

Murray said the Army has signed exploratory agreements with SpaceX and other companies to make sure the product works before it buys it. The Army wants to try it “before we lock ourselves into a multibillion dollar acquisition program,” he said.

“Yes, we are interested in commercial broadband capability from space, and from low Earth orbit,” said Murray. “But I would be lying to you if I said there were absolutely zero concerns.”

Making sure the service is reliable is one concern, he said. Security is another. The Army will want to assess the cyber security of the data moving through the network and also will examine the risks that an adversary could target low altitude satellites with weapons from the ground.


Source: https://spacenews.com/armys-evaluation-of-starlink-broadband-to-focus-on-reliability-vulnerability/
Tytuł: Odp: [AS]SpaceX Readies First Batch of Starlink Satellites for Wednesday Night Launch
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Czerwiec 13, 2020, 20:09
SpaceX launches 58 Starlink satellites, three Planet SkySats on Falcon 9
by Caleb Henry — June 13, 2020

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Starlink-and-SkySats-879x485.png)
SpaceX deployed three SkySats for Planet before deploying 58 Starlink satellites, all in low Earth orbit. Credit: SpaceX webcast.

WASHINGTON — SpaceX completed its ninth bulk Starlink launch June 13, a mission that included a rideshare customer for the first time.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 5:21 a.m. Eastern, carrying 58 Starlink broadband satellites instead of the usual 60. The rocket carried slightly fewer Starlink satellites to make room for three remote-sensing SkySat satellites for Planet.

SpaceX deployed the SkySat satellites first, about 13 minutes after liftoff, followed by the Starlink satellites about 39 minutes after liftoff.

The mission used a Falcon 9 booster that flew two cargo missions to the International Space Station for NASA, the last being CRS-20 in March. The rocket featured a previously flown payload fairing, with one half recovered from the Jcsat-18/Kacific-1 satellite mission in December, and the other from SpaceX’s third Starlink mission, which took place in January.

SpaceX recovered the rocket’s first-stage for a third time, landing the booster on the drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You” in the Atlantic Ocean.

The launch marks the beginning of the rideshare program SpaceX announced in August 2019, offering regular opportunities for smallsat operators to hitch rides on Starlink missions.

SpaceX Lead Manufacturing Engineer Jessie Anderson said the launch contract covering Planet’s three SkySat satellites was signed six months ago. Planet’s Saturday launch, and a second Starlink rideshare scheduled for July will complete the operator’s constellation of 21 SkySats, a fleet that complements Planet’s larger constellation of Dove cubesats.

Once all 21 SkySats are in orbit, Planet says it will be able to image locations an average of seven times a day, with some locations seeing up to 12 revisits a day, at 50-centimeter resolution. Planet’s cubesats collect imagery in 3-5 meter resolution.

Another Earth-observation company, BlackSky, said in a recent interview that it has two satellites scheduled to launch June 24 on a Starlink rideshare mission. Barring schedule slips, that would be three Starlink launches in June, which would be the highest number of Starlink launches conducted in a month.

SpaceX was targeting two Starlink launches a month throughout 2020, but has averaged one Starlink launch a month so far. The company has launched 540 Starlink satellites to date, counting two prototypes, out of a planned system comprising several thousand.

SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk tweeted in late April that Starlink would begin a private beta service in about three months, and a public beta in six months. The company expects to start partial service over the U.S. and Canada late this year, followed by global coverage in 2021. SpaceX updated its Starlink website June 12 to allow prospective customers to sign up for news and service availability announcements.


Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-launches-58-starlink-satellites-three-planet-skysats-on-falcon-9/
Tytuł: Odp: [SN] SpaceX launches Starlink and BlackSky satellites
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Sierpień 07, 2020, 22:40
SpaceX launches Starlink and BlackSky satellites
by Jeff Foust — August 7, 2020

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/f9-starlink10.jpg)
A SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts off Aug. 7 on the company's tenth Starlink mission, which also carried two BlackSky imaging satellites. Credit: SpaceX webcast

WASHINGTON — A SpaceX Falcon 9 launched the latest set of the company’s Starlink satellites, along with two BlackSky imaging satellites, Aug. 7 after weeks of delays.

The Falcon 9 lifted off from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center at 1:12 a.m. Eastern. After a pair of burns, the upper stage deployed BlackSky’s Global-7 satellite nearly 62 minutes after launch, followed by the Global-8 satellite five minutes later. The primary payload, 57 Starlink satellites deployed 93 minutes after launch.

The mission was significantly longer than other recent Starlink launches, which have deployed Starlink satellites as little as 15 minutes after liftoff. The company explained on its webcast of the launch that it performed a brief second burn of the upper stage 45 minutes after liftoff to circularize the orbit for the BlackSky satellites.

The rocket’s first stage, making its fifth flight, landed on a droneship in the Atlantic Ocean about eight and a half minutes after liftoff. The stage first flew on the Demo-1 uncrewed test flight of the Crew Dragon spacecraft in March 2019, then launched the three Radarsat Constellation Mission satellites in June 2019 and Starlink missions in January and April.

SpaceX also deployed two boats to attempt to capture the payload fairing halves from the launch. The company, though, said during the launch webcast that effort was unsuccessful.

This launch was originally scheduled for late June but postponed several times because of poor weather and technical issues. The company never explained the technical issues that delayed those launch attempts, saying only it needed “additional time for pre-launch checkouts” or “to allow more time for checkouts,” according to tweets by the company on June 26 and July 11, respectively.

During the webcast, John Insprucker, principal integration engineer at SpaceX, said the delays were not caused by the rocket itself. “Through all of this, Falcon 9 has been trouble-free, as the delays have been weather-related and payload-related,” he said. He did not disclose if the payload problems were with the Starlink or BlackSky satellites.

The launch is the tenth SpaceX Starlink mission, placing 595 Starlink satellites into orbit, excluding two experimental “Tintin” satellites launched in February 2018. SpaceX ultimately plans a constellation of thousands of Starlink satellites to provide broadband internet access, and is preparing a beta test of the service to customers in parts of North America later this year.

The large number of Starlink satellites has raised concern among astronomers about interference with their observations. In an effort to reduce their brightness, SpaceX equipped one satellite on a Starlink mission in June with visors to block sunlight from reflecting off the spacecraft. While that “VisorSat” is still reaching its operational orbit, SpaceX said all 57 Starlink satellites on this latest launch are equipped with visors.

The two BlackSky satellites on this launch join four others launched in 2018 and 2019. The company hopes to have 16 of the satellites, which provide high-resolution imagery, in orbit by early 2021 (https://spacenews.com/blacksky-launching-two-satellites-on-june-starlink-mission/).


Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-launches-starlink-and-blacksky-satellites/
Tytuł: Odp: [SN] Falcon 9 reaches new reusability record during Starlink, SkySat launch
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Sierpień 20, 2020, 02:33
Falcon 9 reaches new reusability record during Starlink, SkySat launch
by Caleb Henry — August 18, 2020

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/f9-Booster-landing-Aug-2020-879x485.png)
SpaceX landed the same Falcon 9 booster for a sixth time Aug. 18, setting a new record for the rocket. Credit: SpaceX webcast

WASHINGTON — SpaceX successfully launched a Falcon 9 rocket Aug. 18 on a mission that reused the same first-stage booster for a sixth time, setting a record for Falcon 9 booster reuse.

The Falcon 9 lifted off at 10:31 a.m. Eastern from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, carrying 58 small broadband satellites for SpaceX’s Starlink constellation, and three SkySat optical imaging satellites for Planet.

Planet’s SkySats separated from the rocket about 13 minutes after liftoff, followed by the Starlink satellites 46 minutes after liftoff. The first-stage booster landed on the drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You,” in the Atlantic Ocean.

The launch marks the first time SpaceX has flown the same first-stage booster six times. The company first used this particular first stage in September 2018 to launch the Telstar-18 Vantage satellite to geostationary transfer orbit. The booster flew again in January 2019, carrying 10 Iridium NEXT communications satellites to low Earth orbit, and later conducted three separate Starlink launches, with the most recent occurring in June 2020.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk has described the current Falcon 9 first-stage booster as capable of at least 10 flights (https://spacenews.com/musk-details-block-5-improvements-to-falcon-9/), with refurbishment possibly extending the number of flights to 100. The company builds a new upper stage for each launch.

SpaceX has tested the limits of Falcon 9 reuse through Starlink missions, having launched its own Starlink satellites on the first-ever fourth flight and fifth flight of a rocket booster. The company’s Aug. 18 launch also featured previously flown payload fairing halves that have since been recovered again — one by the boat “Ms. Tree,” and the other via a soft water landing.

SpaceX has now launched 653 Starlink satellites, including two prototypes. It is not clear, however, how many Starlink satellites launched so far will provide service when SpaceX starts offering internet connections late this year.

SpaceX told the U.S. Federal Communications Commission June 23 that nine Starlink satellites had “suffered diminished maneuvering capability at an altitude above injection,” and that another five had already been deorbited (https://spacenews.com/contact-lost-with-three-starlink-satellites-other-57-healthy/) “either to test the de-orbit process or because the satellite was not performing optimally.”

Musk also tweeted in April that the company was deorbiting its two TinTin prototype satellites.

SpaceX has submitted paperwork for a constellation of up to 42,000 Starlink satellites, but has described the constellation as “economically viable” at around 1,000 satellites.

While Starlink will need many more satellites before providing service, the launch completed Planet’s constellation of 21 SkySats.

The SkySat satellites provide imagery at 50 centimeter resolution, complementing Planet’s larger fleet of Dove cubesats that provide 3-5 meter resolution imagery.

Mike Safyan, Planet vice president of launch, said SpaceX’s rideshare program was better for Planet than relying on vehicles designed specifically for smallsats.

“[W]e were able to get these satellites launched much faster compared to a dedicated launch,” he wrote in an Aug. 14 blog post.

Planet launched its last six SkySats in groups of three on Falcon 9 launches. Splitting the satellites into two groups helps speed their service start by shortening the time needed for orbital plane shifts with onboard propulsion, “all of which results in Planet’s customers benefiting from these enhanced products much sooner,” Safyan said.


Source: https://spacenews.com/falcon-9-reaches-new-reusability-record-during-starlink-skysat-launch/
Tytuł: Odp: [SN] Falcon 9 launch adds 60 Starlink satellites to orbit as constellation
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Wrzesień 03, 2020, 18:06
Falcon 9 launch adds 60 Starlink satellites to orbit as constellation beta testing continues
by Caleb Henry — September 3, 2020 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Starlink-Sept.-2020-A-879x485.png)
SpaceX has now launched 713 Starlink satellites, including prototypes, though the company is deorbiting some early models. Credit: SpaceX webcast.

WASHINGTON — SpaceX on Sept. 3 launched 60 Starlink internet satellites on a Falcon 9 rocket while disclosing early testing results from the constellation for which it has now launched 713 satellites.

Falcon 9 lifted off at 8:46 a.m. Eastern from Launch Complex 39A at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, and deployed the latest batch of Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit 15 minutes later.

The rocket’s reusable first-stage booster landed on the drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You,” located in the Atlantic Ocean. It was the booster’s second flight, following a June GPS-3 launch for the U.S. Space Force.

SpaceX plans to roll out a public beta of Starlink internet service later this year, but is for now testing the service with employees, Kate Tice, senior certification engineer at SpaceX, said during the launch webcast.

That testing demonstrated download speeds above 100 megabits per second, and “super low latency,” she said, though she did not quantify the latency.

“Our latency is low enough to play the fastest online video games, and our download speeds are fast enough to stream multiple HD movies at once and still have bandwidth to spare,” Tice said.

The Starlink megaconstellation, which could number 12,000 or even 42,000 satellites, remains “very much a work in progress,” she said. “Over time, we will continue to add features to unlock the full capability of that network.”

One new feature some Starlink satellites now have is inter-satellite links — a component SpaceX had said Starlink would have but for which it had not given an introduction date.

SpaceX completed a test with two satellites equipped with the crosslinks, which the company refers to as “space lasers.”

“With these space lasers, the Starlink satellites were able to transfer hundreds of gigabytes of data,” Tice said. “Once these space lasers are fully deployed, Starlink will be one of the fastest options available to transfer data around the world.”

Inter-satellite links help lower latency, which could improve SpaceX’s odds of winning a share of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s $20.4 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (https://spacenews.com/leo-constellations-still-held-to-high-bar-in-fcc-rural-broadband-subsidy-program/), meant to subsidize high-speed internet in the United States. SpaceX told the FCC in February that Starlink would have less than 50 milliseconds of signal lag.

SpaceX is already starting to deorbit older Starlink satellites that lack features added on later iterations (https://spacenews.com/spacex-launches-fourth-batch-of-starlink-satellites-tweaks-satellite-design/). In the past 60 days, 10 Starlink satellites have deorbited — eight from bulk launches, plus the two TinTin prototypes — according to Celestrack, a service from Analytical Graphics Inc.

Another four Starlink satellites launched in 2019 have orbits below 200 kilometers, indicating they are imminently close to burning up in Earth’s atmosphere and deorbiting, T.S. Kelso, senior research astrodynamicist at AGI, told SpaceNews by email.

SpaceX has completed 16 launches in 2020, all using Falcon 9 rockets. Of those launches, 10 were for its own Starlink constellation.


Source: https://spacenews.com/falcon-9-launch-adds-60-starlink-satellites-to-orbit-as-constellation-beta-testing-continues/
Tytuł: Odp: [SN] SpaceX launches Starlink satellites as it deorbits original ones
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Październik 19, 2020, 02:37
SpaceX launches Starlink satellites as it deorbits original ones
by Jeff Foust — October 6, 2020 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/f9-starlink13-879x485.jpg)
A Falcon 9 carrying 60 Starlink satellites lifts off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida Oct. 6. Credit: SpaceX webcast

WASHINGTON — As SpaceX launches a new batch of Starlink satellites, the company is quietly deorbiting the original set of satellites less than 18 months after launch.

A Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, at 7:29 a.m. Eastern Oct. 6. The launch suffered a series of delays because of poor weather and one abort at T-18 seconds Oct. 1 because of “out-of-family” data from a ground sensor (https://spacenews.com/back-to-back-launch-scrubs-frustrate-musk/).

The rocket’s payload of 60 Starlink satellites deployed from the upper stage 61 minutes after liftoff, nearly 20 minutes after a brief second burn of the upper stage to circularize its orbit, a maneuver SpaceX said is designed to speed up the process of moving the satellites into their final orbits. The Falcon 9 first stage, making its third flight, successfully landed on a droneship in the Atlantic Ocean.

With this launch, SpaceX has now launched 775 Starlink satellites, counting two prototypes launched in early 2018. However, 47 of those satellites have since reentered, either through deliberate maneuvers or natural decay, according to data maintained by astronomer and spaceflight analyst Jonathan McDowell (https://planet4589.org/space/stats/megacon/starbad.html).

The bulk of those deorbited satellites are from the initial group of 60 “v0.9” Starlink satellites launched in May 2019. Through Oct. 4, 39 of those satellites have deorbited, all but two of which since early August. The rate of deorbiting picked up in late August, with 32 satellites deorbiting since Aug. 29.

SpaceX has not publicly disclosed why it is deorbiting the v0.9 Starlink satellites. The company said in January it would carry out a “controlled de-orbit of several first iteration Starlink satellites (http://pacenews.com/spacex-launches-fourth-batch-of-starlink-satellites-tweaks-satellite-design/),” citing improvements in the communications payload in subsequent Starlink satellites.

Critics of Starlink, though, have claimed the deorbiting satellites are evidence of reliability problems. In a Sept. 17 filing with the Federal Communications Commission, Viasat claimed that Starlink satellites had an in-orbit failure rate of 7%, far higher than SpaceX’s claims of a failure rate of less than 1%. “And an actual failure rate this high, manifesting after such a small fraction of a Starlink satellite’s design life has passed, optimistically implies a staggering 22% failure rate over the duration of the Starlink mission,” the company argued (emphasis in original.)

Viasat based that conclusion in part on McDowell’s data, prompting a rebuttal from him in a Sept. 21 FCC filing. He argued Viasat inflated the estimated failure rate of Starlink satellites by including the deorbited v0.9 satellites. “To include the deliberate retirement of the V0.9 satellites as failures, which Viasat appear to be doing, does not seem remotely justifiable to me,” he wrote.

“Viasat believes that data about all Starlink failures are relevant,” the company said in a Sept. 24 filing responding to McDowell. That includes, the company said, the v0.9 Starlink satellites being deorbited. “Viasat is not aware of any valid basis for treating the v0.9 Starlink satellites (the first 60) as ‘early prototypes’ and thus somehow ‘unrepresentative’ of the Starlink system.”

Those satellites, Viasat said, were treated as “an integral part” of the Starlink system in a SpaceX report to the FCC in 2019. “Moreover, for the purpose of evaluating whether SpaceX is achieving the reliability level that it represented to the Commission it would achieve, Viasat believes that all failures—including failures of satellites that have been disposed of—are relevant.”

SpaceX, in its own response to Viasat’s filings submitted to the FCC Sept. 29, said that it had reported no failures in the last 233 Starlink satellites launched at the time of the filing.

“Viasat steadfastly refuses to allow facts to get in the way of the story it wishes were true,” the company wrote. “SpaceX continues to work to improve the performance and reliability of its vehicles.” That filing, though, did not discuss why the company was deorbiting its v0.9 Starlink satellites.


Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-launches-starlink-satellites-as-it-deorbits-original-ones/
Tytuł: Odp: [SN] SpaceX launches Starlink satellites as it deorbits original ones
Wiadomość wysłana przez: mss w Październik 21, 2020, 21:37
Falcon 9 investigation ongoing as SpaceX continues Starlink launches
by Jeff Foust — October 18, 2020[SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/f9-starlink14-2-879x485.jpg)
A SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts off Oct. 18 carrying 60 Starlink satellites. Credit: SpaceX

WASHINGTON — A SpaceX Falcon 9 launched another set of Starlink satellites Oct. 18 as the investigation into another Falcon 9 launch abort more than two weeks ago continues.

The Falcon 9 lifted off from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center at 8:25 a.m. Eastern. The rocket’s upper stage deployed the payload of 60 Starlink satellites 63 minutes after liftoff. The rocket’s first stage, making its sixth launch, landed on a droneship in the Atlantic Ocean.

With this launch, SpaceX has now placed 835 Starlink satellites into orbit. However, more than 50 of those satellites have since reentered, including 45 of the 60 “v0.9” Starlink satellites launched in May 2019 and the first two “Tintin” prototypes launched in February 2018.

Starlink is currently in a private beta test of its broadband internet system, and the company has said it plans to offer a more public beta test before the end of the year. In both the launch webcast as well as recent filings with the Federal Communications Commission, the company has highlighted early users of the system, such as the emergency management department in the state of Washington, which used Starlink to provide connectivity during recent wildfires in the state, as well as the Hoh tribe in the state, which previously had no broadband access because of its remote location.

The launch is the second Starlink mission in less than two weeks as SpaceX seeks to maintain a rate of roughly two Starlink launches a month to build out the constellation. Those launches have moved ahead while another Falcon 9, carrying a GPS 3 navigation satellite for the U.S. Space Force, remains grounded after a last-second abort Oct. 2 blamed on a problem with gas generators in the rocket’s first-stage engines (https://spacenews.com/back-to-back-launch-scrubs-frustrate-musk/).

That scrub led NASA to postpone a Falcon 9 launch of the Crew-1 commercial crew mission, which had been scheduled for Oct. 31. NASA announced Oct. 10 it was postponing the launch to the first half of November (https://spacenews.com/nasa-delays-commercial-crew-mission-to-study-falcon-9-engine-issue/) while the investigation into the scrub continues.

NASA has not issued any updates on the status of the Crew-1 launch, although one NASA webpage lists a launch of no earlier than Nov. 11 (https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/future.html). “That investigation is ongoing,” Tim Dunn of NASA’s Launch Services Program said at an Oct. 16 briefing about the scheduled Nov. 10 launch of the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich ocean science satellite, which will also use a Falcon 9.

Dunn said that there has been a “tremendous amount of testing” since the GPS 3 launch scrub, including taking the Merlin engines from that rocket back to SpaceX’s McGregor, Texas, test site for further study. That investigation has involved NASA and Space Force personnel working with SpaceX.

He did not elaborate, though, on the specific problem with the engines or when either the GPS 3 or Crew-1 missions might launch. “We’ve learned a lot. There’s going to be some hardware implications as we move forward, depending on the engines installed on various rockets,” he said.

However, he did not expect the engine issue to delay the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich launch. “As of today, we have a path forward that allows us to do whatever necessary rework may be required and still maintain that 10 November launch date.”


Source: https://spacenews.com/falcon-9-investigation-ongoing-as-spacex-continues-starlink-launches/
Tytuł: Odp: [SN] SpaceX launches Starlink satellites as it deorbits original ones
Wiadomość wysłana przez: mss w Październik 25, 2020, 15:48
SpaceX reaches 100 successful launches with Starlink mission
by Jeff Foust — October 24, 2020 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/starlink15-deploy-879x485.jpg)
A set of 60 Starlink satellites deploys from the upper stage of a Falcon 9 rocket during an Oct. 24 launch. Credit: SpaceX webcast

WASHINGTON — SpaceX launched another set of Starlink satellites Oct. 24, marking the 100th time the company has placed payloads into orbit.

The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 11:31 a.m. Eastern. The rocket’s upper stage deployed the payload of 60 Starlink satellites into orbit 63 minutes after liftoff. The first stage, making its third flight, landed on a droneship in the Atlantic Ocean.

This was the 100th successful launch in the company’s history. That total includes 95 Falcon 9, three Falcon Heavy and two Falcon 1 launches. The company also suffered three Falcon 1 launch failures and one Falcon 9 launch failure; another Falcon 9 was destroyed in 2016 during preparations for a static-fire test.

The launch was the third Starlink mission in less than two weeks, after Falcon 9 launches Oct. 6 (https://spacenews.com/spacex-launches-starlink-satellites-as-it-deorbits-original-ones/) and Oct. 18 (https://spacenews.com/falcon-9-investigation-ongoing-as-spacex-continues-starlink-launches/) that each carried 60 Starlink satellites into orbit. The company has now launched 895 Starlink satellites, 55 of which have reentered either because of passive orbital decay or by being actively deorbited.

SpaceX has boasted in filings with the Federal Communications Commission of the high reliability of the Starlink satellites. That included an Oct. 15 filing about an ex parte meeting between SpaceX and FCC staff where the company noted “the successful launch and operation of nearly 300 additional satellites without a failure” since an earlier report filed with the FCC.

That streak, though, may have been broken on the previous launch. Satellite observers noted that one of the satellites on the Oct. 18 launch, identified as Starlink-1819, was not raising its orbit like the other 59. Tracking data showed that satellite’s orbit was instead decaying, suggesting it had malfunctioned.

SpaceX and its competitors have debated the reliability of Starlink satellites in a series of FCC filings in recent weeks. Viasat has argued that the failure rate of Starlink satellites is far higher than what SpaceX has promised, although the company made that argument in part on the apparent deliberate deorbiting of the original 60 “v0.9” Starlink satellites launched in May 2019.

The recent surge in Starlink launches is taking place as two other Falcon 9 missions remain on hold. The last-second scrub of a Falcon 9 launch of a GPS 3 satellite Oct. 2 has yet to be rescheduled, and the investigation into the gas generator problem that caused the scrub led NASA to postpone the Falcon 9 launch of the Crew-1 commercial crew mission (https://spacenews.com/nasa-delays-commercial-crew-mission-to-study-falcon-9-engine-issue/), which had been scheduled for Oct. 31.

The Crew-1 launch remains on hold. In a series of tweets Oct. 21 (https://twitter.com/KathyLueders/status/1318914963344379906), Kathy Lueders, NASA associate administrator for human exploration and operations, said investigators were making “good progress” on understanding the engine issue, but that they were not ready to report the cause of the problem.

She did note that SpaceX will replace one Merlin engine on both the booster that will be used for the Crew-1 mission and the booster for the launch of the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich ocean science satellite, scheduled for Nov. 10 from Vandenberg Air Force Base. The Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich launch remains on schedule for that launch even with the engine swap, she said.

The earliest Crew-1 would launch is mid-November, Lueders said. “We will want a few days between Sentinel-6 and Crew-1 to complete data reviews and check performance. Most importantly, we will fly all our missions when we are ready.


Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-reaches-100-successful-launches-with-starlink-mission/
Tytuł: Odp: [AS]SpaceX Readies First Batch of Starlink Satellites for Wednesday Night Launch
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Listopad 25, 2020, 12:12
SpaceX sets new Falcon 9 reuse milestone on Starlink launch
by Jeff Foust — November 24, 2020 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/f9-starlink-nov2020-879x485.jpg)
A SpaceX Falcon 9 launched a set of 60 Starlink satellites Nov. 24 on the 100th flight of the Falcon 9, and the seventh of this particular first stage. Credit: SpaceX

WASHINGTON — SpaceX set a new milestone in Falcon 9 reuse with the latest Starlink satellite launch Nov. 24 as the company seeks permission to deploy Starlink satellites into a new orbit.

The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 9:13 p.m. Eastern. The rocket’s upper stage released its payload of 60 Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit about 15 minutes later.

The rocket’s first stage landed on a droneship in the Atlantic, completing its record-setting seventh launch. The stage first flew in September 2018 launching the Telstar 18 Vantage satellite, followed by the final Iridium mission in January 2019. The rocket then launched four Starlink missions starting in May 2019, most recently Aug. 18.

The launch was also the 100th overall for the Falcon 9, a total that includes a June 2015 launch failure but not the destruction of another on the pad during preparations for a static-fire test in September 2016.

SpaceX has now launched 955 Starlink satellites, of which 895 are in orbit. The company has started a beta test of the broadband internet service provided by those satellites in the northern U.S. and southern Canada. During the webcast of this launch, the company said it would expand that beta test “in a notable way” in late January or early February.

To date SpaceX has launched Starlink satellites into orbits at an inclination of 53 degrees, maximizing coverage over mid-latitude regions but excluding higher latitudes, including Alaska, northern Canada and northern Europe. The company’s original authorization from the Federal Communications Commission called for other satellites at higher orbits and inclinations, but the company filed a proposed modification in April that would lower all the satellites into orbits between 540 and 570 kilometers, including those in high-inclination orbits.

In a Nov. 17 filing with the FCC, SpaceX sought permission to start launching satellites into sun-synchronous orbit. It requested permission to launch 58 satellites into one of six orbital planes at an inclination of 97.6 degrees as soon as December, arguing that doing so would allow the company to begin to provide broadband service in rural Alaska.

“SpaceX submits this request now because it has an opportunity for a polar launch in December that could be used to initiate its service to some of the most remote regions of the country,” the company stated in the filing, arguing that “launching to polar orbits will enable SpaceX to bring the same high-quality broadband service to the most remote areas of Alaska that other Americans have come to depend upon, especially as the pandemic limits opportunities for in-person contact.”

The company didn’t elaborate on the details of this launch opportunity, but claimed that its request was justified because it had resolved a concern with Amazon about a potential conflict with that company’s proposed Project Kuiper constellation. SpaceX agreed to tighten the orbital tolerances on the Starlink satellites at 570 kilometers such that they would not fly higher than 580 kilometers, avoiding Kuiper satellites at 590 kilometers.

Another satellite operator, though, objected to SpaceX’s proposal. “But commercial expediency is hardly a valid reason for the Commission to bypass the requirements of the Communications Act and grant an application prematurely, in the face of significant doubts as to whether SpaceX has met the public interest standard,” countered Viasat in a Nov. 19 FCC filing.

Viasat, which has criticized the reliability of Starlink satellites in earlier filings, again raised concerns about premature failures of Starlink satellites. It noted there was no evidence the December launch opportunity was the only one for those satellites, particularly since SpaceX controls the launches.

“The Commission should balk at SpaceX’s request to provide it with additional authority that it does not yet need when doing so could endanger orbital safety,” it stated. The FCC has yet to act on SpaceX’s request for the polar launch.


Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-sets-new-falcon-9-reuse-milestone-on-starlink-launch/
Tytuł: Odp: [SN] FCC grants permission for polar launch of Starlink satellites
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Styczeń 14, 2021, 02:53
FCC grants permission for polar launch of Starlink satellites
by Jeff Foust — January 9, 2021 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Starlink-Screenshot-879x485.png)
The FCC will allow SpaceX to launch 10 Starlink satellites into a polar orbit on the Transporter-1 mission later this month. Credit: SpaceX

WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission will allow SpaceX to launch 10 Starlink satellites into polar orbit on an upcoming mission, but deferred a decision on a much broader modification of SpaceX’s license.

In an order published Jan. 8 (https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-21-34A1.pdf), the FCC granted SpaceX permission to launch 10 Starlink satellites into a 560-kilometer orbit with an inclination of 97.6 degrees. Those satellites will launch on a Falcon 9 no earlier than Jan. 14 as part of Transporter-1, a dedicated smallsat rideshare mission.

SpaceX had been lobbying the FCC for weeks for permission to launch Starlink satellites into a polar orbital plane as the FCC considers a modification of the company’s license to lower the orbits of satellites originally authorized for higher altitudes. That included a Nov. 17 request to launch 58 satellites into a single polar orbital plane (https://spacenews.com/spacex-sets-new-falcon-9-reuse-milestone-on-starlink-launch/), citing “an opportunity for a polar launch in December” that it did not identify.

In a Jan. 5 filing with the FCC, SpaceX said it spoke with FCC officials the previous day about this request. “SpaceX confirmed that if it receives the proper authorization, its forthcoming Transporter-1 mission will include 10 Starlink satellites targeted for operation in polar orbits,” the company stated.

SpaceX argued in filings that adding at least some satellites into polar orbits would allow it to begin service in Alaska, which is not in the coverage area of existing Starlink satellites launched into mid-inclination orbits. The company said in its November filing that “launching to polar orbits will enable SpaceX to bring the same high-quality broadband service to the most remote areas of Alaska that other Americans have come to depend upon, especially as the pandemic limits opportunities for in-person contact.”

Other satellite operators opposed the move. In a Nov. 19 filing, Viasat said that “commercial expediency” was not a sufficient reason for the FCC to grant SpaceX permission for launching satellites into polar orbit, raising concerns about the reliability of Starlink satellites and the orbital debris hazards they pose.

The FCC, in its order, concluded that allowing SpaceX to launch the 10 Starlink satellites into polar orbits was in the public interest. “We find that partial grant of ten satellites will facilitate continued development and testing of SpaceX’s broadband service in high latitude geographic areas in the immediate term pending later action to address arguments in the record as to both grant of the modification as a whole and the full subset of polar orbit satellites,” the order stated.

It rejected Viasat’s opposition to the request, stating that allowing the 10 satellites “does not present concerns in connection with the issues raised by commenters.” That included orbital debris concerns about failed Starlink satellites. “We conclude that the addition of these ten satellites is unlikely to have any significant incremental effect on the operations of other satellites in the relevant orbital altitudes,” the order stated.

The FCC, though, deferred a decision on SpaceX’s overall license modification request to lower the orbits of those satellites. In the order, the FCC didn’t state when it expected to rule on the full request.


Source: https://spacenews.com/fcc-grants-permission-for-polar-launch-of-starlink-satellites/
Tytuł: Odp: [AS] SpaceX surpasses 1,000-satellite mark in latest Starlink launch
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Styczeń 22, 2021, 04:33
SpaceX surpasses 1,000-satellite mark in latest Starlink launch
by Jeff Foust — January 20, 2021 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/f9-starlink17-2-879x485.jpg)
A SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts off Jan. 20 carrying the latest set of 60 Starlink satellites. Credit: SpaceX

WASHINGTON — SpaceX launched its latest set of Starlink satellites Jan. 20, bringing the total number of spacecraft launched so far for that broadband constellation to more than 1,000.

The Falcon 9 lifted off at 8:02 a.m. Eastern from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center. The rocket’s upper stage deployed the payload of 60 Starlink satellites 65 minutes after liftoff.

The rocket’s first stage, making its eighth flight, landed on a droneship in the Atlantic Ocean. SpaceX cautioned during the webcast of the launch that the potential for high ground-level winds made the landing an “envelope expansion” attempt. However, the stage landed without incident in the center of the droneship.

The launch was the first time SpaceX flew a booster eight times. The booster, first used to launch the Demo-1 commercial crew test flight in March 2019, was most recently flown on the SXM-7 launch Dec. 13. The 38-day turnaround time between launches is also a record for the shortest time between flights of the same booster.

With this launch, SpaceX has now delivered 1,015 Starlink satellites into orbit, dating back to the two “Tintin” prototypes launched in February 2018. Of those 1,015, 951 are still in orbit, according to statistics maintained by spaceflight observer Jonathan McDowell.

SpaceX ramped up deployment of Starlink last year, with 14 launches. The rapid growth of the constellation has alarmed astronomers, who are concerned that Starlink and other megaconstellations could disrupt their observations.

Speaking during a session of the 237th Meeting of the American Astronomical Society Jan. 14, Patricia Cooper, vice president of satellite government affairs at SpaceX, argued that the company has taken major steps to reduce the impact of Starlink satellites on astronomy over the last year.

“We at SpaceX have certainly enjoyed what I would call a thoughtful and creative technical collaboration with an ever-widening group of astronomers,” she said, resulting in a “deeper and fuller technical understanding of the intersection of the satellite constellation sector and specific projects affect ground-based astronomy.”

That has resulted in the development of a version of the Starlink satellites called VisorSat, which is equipped with visors to prevent sunlight from reflecting off antennas and other surfaces on the satellites, reducing their brightness. Every Starlink satellite launched after August 2020 is equipped with visors, accounting for more than 400 satellites, she said.

The goal of the VisorSats is to reduce the brightness of the Starlink satellites to magnitude 7 or fainter. Observations of those satellites that have reached their final orbit, though, indicate they have an average magnitude of 6.5, said Pat Seitzer of the University of Michigan during the conference session.

Cooper said SpaceX is committed to continue to work with astronomers to mitigate the effect of Starlink, but also emphasized the benefits of the system. “It’s important to keep the purpose of this disruption to astronomy, from your perspective, in context of the goal of the constellation we’re deploying, which is broadband connectivity,” she said.

“This collaboration needs to continue,” she added, because those discussions are “what’s getting us to a much better, more successful way of coexisting.”


Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-surpasses-1000-satellite-mark-in-latest-starlink-launch/
Tytuł: Odp: [AS]SpaceX Readies First Batch of Starlink Satellites for Wednesday Night Launch
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Styczeń 25, 2021, 00:44
SpaceX launches record-setting cluster of smallsats
by Jeff Foust — January 24, 2021 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/f9-transporter1-2-879x485.jpg)
A SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts off Jan. 24 on the Transporter-1 dedicated rideshare mission. Credit: SpaceX

WASHINGTON — A SpaceX Falcon 9 launched 143 small satellites for a wide range of customers Jan. 24 on the company’s first dedicated rideshare mission, a service that poses a competitive threat to emerging small launch vehicles.

The Falcon 9 lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 10 a.m. Eastern, a launch delayed one day by poor weather. The first stage, making its fifth launch after being previously used for NASA and commercial launches, landed on a droneship off the northern coast of Cuba.

The rocket’s second stage started deploying satellites 59 minutes after liftoff into sun-synchronous orbits, a process that took more than a half-hour to complete. The 143 satellites on what SpaceX called the Transporter-1 mission were the most deployed on a single launch, breaking the record of 104 set by an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) mission in February 2017.

Transporter-1 is the first dedicated rideshare mission for SpaceX’s overall smallsat rideshare program, which also provides secondary payload opportunities on Starlink and other launches. SpaceX worked directly with satellite operators as well as several rideshare aggregators, including D-Orbit, Exolaunch, Nanoracks and Spaceflight, to fly payloads on the mission. The large number of satellites posed a challenge for U.S. Space Command (https://spacenews.com/spacexs-record-setting-rideshare-mission-a-challenge-for-space-traffic-control/), which tracks satellites and other objects in orbit.

Planet is the largest single customer in terms of number of satellites launched, with 48 of its Dove cubesats. Of those, 36 were contracted directly with SpaceX with the other 12 through other companies. Swarm launched 36 of its SpaceBee satellites by working with two different payload aggregators.

The diversity of payloads meant that some competitors shared a launch. Iceye launched three of its synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imaging satellites on this mission, alongside two SAR satellites from Capella Space and one from Japanese SAR company iQPS. Astrocast launched five satellites to provide internet-of-things services similar to what Swarm is offering, while Kepler launched eight satellites for its constellation that provides internet-of-things and other communications services.

Some other customers of the launch were Spire, which launched eight new cubesats for weather and vessel tracking services; HawkEye 360, which launched three satellites for its commercial signals intelligence service; and NASA, which launched four technology demonstration cubesats. Neither SpaceX nor the aggregators released full manifests of the satellites on the Transporter-1 mission prior to liftoff.

SpaceX also added 10 of its Starlink satellites to the mission. These will be the first to operate in polar orbits, after the Federal Communications Commission granted permission Jan. 8 to use polar orbits for those 10 satellites to test providing broadband internet access at high latitudes.

Transporter-1 could have had even more payloads. Two DARPA satellites that were to fly on the mission to test technologies for its Blackjack program were damaged during payload processing (https://spacenews.com/darpa-satellites-damaged-at-processing-facility-ahead-of-spacex-launch/) in early January. Momentus delayed plans to launch its first Vigoride tug (https://spacenews.com/momentus-delays-first-vigoride-launch/), carrying several cubesats, to a future SpaceX rideshare mission, citing delays in getting regulatory approvals.

SpaceX announced its rideshare program in August 2019, offering low-cost launch opportunities for smallsats with a mix of dedicated missions and secondary payloads on rideshare missions. It started allowing customers to book launches directly through its website (https://spacenews.com/opportunities-grow-for-smallsat-rideshare-launches/) in February 2020.

SpaceX seeks to provide a regular cadence of launches through that program, intended to provide “competitive pricing and increased flight opportunities on board the world’s most advanced and proven launch vehicles,” Andy Tran, host of the SpaceX webcast, said. “If you’re ready to fly during the scheduled launch period, you will fly.”

That rideshare program could pose a threat to small launch vehicles now in service or about to enter service, which can’t provide the same pricing. Those companies have increasingly emphasized responsiveness, including their ability to place payloads into the customer’s preferred orbit and on their preferred schedule.


Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-launches-record-setting-cluster-of-smallsats/
Tytuł: Odp: [SN] SpaceX adds laser crosslinks to polar Starlink satellites
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Styczeń 27, 2021, 02:40
SpaceX adds laser crosslinks to polar Starlink satellites
by Jeff Foust — January 26, 2021 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Starlink-Screenshot-879x485.png)
The 10 Starlink satellites launched to polar orbit Jan. 24 feature intersatellite links, a technology the company will expand to other satellites next year. Credit: SpaceX

WASHINGTON — The first Starlink satellites launched to polar orbit are equipped with laser crosslinks, a technology the company plans to add to other satellites next year.

SpaceX included 10 Starlink satellites on its Transporter-1 dedicated rideshare launch Jan. 24. Those satellites are the first in the Starlink constellation SpaceX has deployed to polar orbit, after winning Federal Communications Commission to do so Jan. 8.

In tweets after the launch, Elon Musk, founder and chief executive of SpaceX, said those satellites were equipped with laser intersatellite links. “These also have laser links between the satellites, so no ground stations are needed over the poles,” he said in response to one tweet about the launch (https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1353566586985013254).

Intersatellite links allow satellites to transfer communications from one satellite to another, either in the same orbital plane or an adjacent plane. Such links allow operators to minimize the number of ground stations, since a ground station no longer needs to be in the same satellite footprint as user terminals, and extend coverage to remote areas where ground stations are not available. They can also decrease latency, since the number of hops between satellites and ground stations are reduced.

SpaceX has tested intersatellite links on other Starlink satellites, although they are not in widespread use. During a September 2020 webcast of a Starlink launch, the company said it tested “space lasers” between two satellites (https://spacenews.com/falcon-9-launch-adds-60-starlink-satellites-to-orbit-as-constellation-beta-testing-continues/), relaying hundreds of gigabytes of data. “Once these space lasers are fully deployed, Starlink will be one of the fastest options available to transfer data around the world,” the company said at the time.

Musk, in another tweet (https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1353574169288396800), said SpaceX would roll out laser intersatellite links on other Starlink satellites next year. “All sats launched next year will have laser links. Only our polar sats have lasers this year & are v0.9,” he said.


Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-adds-laser-crosslinks-to-polar-starlink-satellites/
Tytuł: Odp: [SN] Falcon 9 launches Starlink satellites
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Luty 04, 2021, 18:39
Falcon 9 launches Starlink satellites
by Jeff Foust — February 4, 2021 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/starlink-21feb4-879x485.jpg)
A SpaceX Falcon 9 launches from Cape Canaveral, Florida, Feb. 4 carrying a set of 60 Starlink satellites. Credit: SpaceX webcast

WASHINGTON — SpaceX successfully launched another set of Starlink satellites Feb. 4 in the first of back-to-back Falcon 9 launches scheduled from Cape Canaveral.

The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 1:19 a.m. Eastern from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. Its payload of 60 Starlink satellites separated from the rocket’s upper stage 65 minutes later.

The rocket’s first stage landed on a droneship in the Atlantic Ocean eight and a half minutes after liftoff. The booster was on its fifth flight, having been used most recently for the launch of the Turksat 5A satellite Jan. 8.

The launch is the first of two back-to-back Falcon 9 Starlink missions from Florida. A second Falcon 9 is scheduled to launch Feb. 5 from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center, also carrying 60 Starlink satellites.

For a time, SpaceX planned launching both rockets Feb. 4, less than four and a half hours apart. The company said late Feb. 2 that the launch doubleheader was pending favorable weather and range approvals. While the 45th Space Wing announced Feb. 3 that it approved SpaceX’s launch plans, the company announced later that day it was delaying the launch from LC-39A, which had been scheduled for 5:36 a.m. Eastern, by a day for additional pre-launch checks.

The last time two launches took place from the Eastern Range, which includes Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and KSC, in a single day was in November 1966, with launches of NASA’s Gemini 12 mission and its Atlas Agena docking target 99 minutes apart. SpaceX proposed carrying out two Falcon 9 launches in one day in August 2020, but one of the two launches was scrubbed by weather.

This launch brings the total number of Starlink satellites in orbit to 1,022, according to statistics kept by Jonathan McDowell (https://planet4589.org/space/stats/megacon/starbad.html) of the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian. The company passed the milestone of 1,000 Starlink satellites launched last month, but more than 60 of those satellites have deorbited since their launches.


Source: https://spacenews.com/falcon-9-launches-starlink-satellites/
Tytuł: Odp: [SN] SpaceX launches Starlink satellites, but booster landing fails
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Luty 16, 2021, 06:49
SpaceX launches Starlink satellites, but booster landing fails
by Jeff Foust — February 16, 2021 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/f9-starlink19-879x485.png)
A set of 60 Starlink satellites deploys from the upper stage of its Falcon 9 rocket to conclude a Feb. 15 launch. Credit: SpaceX webcast

WASHINGTON — SpaceX launched another set of Falcon 9 satellites Feb. 15, but suffered a rare failed landing of the rocket’s first stage during the mission.

The Falcon 9 lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 10:59 p.m. Eastern, after unfavorable weather conditions caused a one-day delay. The rocket released its payload of 60 Starlink satellites in orbit 65 minutes after liftoff.

The rocket’s first stage, however, did not land on a droneship in the Atlantic Ocean as planned. Video from the droneship around the time of landing showed a glow in the distance, suggesting a problem with the booster that either caused it to go off-course or to deliberately divert from the landing attempt. SpaceX did not immediately disclose what took place during the failed landing.

The failure broke a streak of 24 consecutive Falcon 9 launches with successful landings, either on droneships or on land. The last failure took place in March 2020, and was the second failure in three Falcon 9 launches. The March failure was caused by engine cleaning fluid that was trapped inside and interfered with a sensor, while the earlier failure was blamed on incorrect wind data.

The booster on this launch made its sixth flight. It first flew in December 2019 on a cargo Dragon mission, then was used for another cargo Dragon in March 2020. It subsequently launched a set of Starlink satellites, along with three SkySats for Planet, in June, followed by SAOCOM-1B in August and the NROL-108 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office in December.

The primary purpose of the mission, though, was a success, adding to the growing constellation of Starlink satellites. SpaceX is expanding its beta testing program, and now has more than 10,000 users in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, according to a Feb. 3 filing with the Federal Communications Commission.

SpaceX, though, is facing renewed opposition from some organizations regarding the nearly $885.5 million in FCC Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) awards it won (https://spacenews.com/spacex-wins-big-share-of-9-2b-rdof-broadband-subsidy/) in December. In a recent white paper (https://www.electric.coop/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/NRECA-NRTC-RDOF-paper-PostFinal-02-01-2021.pdf), the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative (NRTC) argued that the FCC should closely scrutinize SpaceX’s plans to provide broadband internet service via satellite. Those groups say bids by rural cooperatives for RDOF funding to provide broadband service were shut out by both SpaceX as well as fixed wireless networks.

“While delivering broadband service at the speeds promised by these applicants may appear to be viable, this service is currently in beta testing and commercially available on a limited basis in extremely limited areas, and questions remain,” the paper states. “Awarding bids to experimental and unproven LEO satellite service is a direct contradiction” to the rules of the RDOF program, it argued.

“I’m really struggling on the physics and economics” of satellite broadband, said Tim Bryan, chief executive of the NRTC, in a Feb. 4 call with reporters. He claimed there were “anecdotal reports” of people who signed up for Starlink beta but were having problems getting connections any faster than four megabits per second, but didn’t elaborate.

“Starlink’s performance is not theoretical or experimental,” SpaceX noted in its Feb. 3 FCC filing. The company said it had already demonstrated it could meet or exceed key performance tiers, including 100 megabits per second of data to customers and 20 megabits per second of data from them, as well latencies of 31 milliseconds or less.

Bryan said his group’s issue was how Starlink could scale up to serve larger numbers of customers. “My concern is mostly around the capacity not of one or two users, but what happens when you get to 20 or 30 or 40 or 50 thousand users,” he said.

“I have no doubt that the Starlink constellation could be successful in some areas, and in some cases, providing coverage over areas like the deep blue seas and those sorts of places,” he said. “I struggle to see how it’s going to reliably deliver 100-megabit service to the literally hundreds and thousands of customers in the census block groups that it bid for.”


Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-launches-starlink-satellites-but-booster-landing-fails/
Tytuł: Odp: [SN] Falcon 9 launches Starlink satellites, lands booster
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Marzec 05, 2021, 08:23
Falcon 9 launches Starlink satellites, lands booster
by Jeff Foust — March 4, 2021

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/f9-starlink-210304-879x485.jpg)
A SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts off March 4 carrying 60 Starlink satellites. Credit: SpaceX webcast

WASHINGTON — A SpaceX Falcon 9 launched a new set of Starlink satellites and landed the booster March 4, two and a half weeks after the landing failed on the previous launch.

The Falcon 9 lifted off from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center at 3:24 a.m. Eastern. The rocket deployed its payload of 60 Starlink satellites into orbit about 65 minutes after liftoff.

The Falcon 9 first stage successfully landed on a droneship in the Atlantic eight and a half minutes after liftoff. That booster was on its eighth flight, having previously launched the Telesat 18 Vantage communications satellite, the final batch of Iridium satellites and five sets of Starlink satellites.

The landing attempt was of particular interest because the previous Falcon 9 launch Feb. 15 failed to land the booster, breaking a streak of two dozen successful landings. A SpaceX official revealed March 1 that hot gas penetrated a small hole in a cover surrounding one of the stage’s nine Merlin engines (https://spacenews.com/engine-shutdown-led-to-failed-falcon-9-booster-landing/), causing the engine to shut down during ascent. While the vehicle’s engine-out capability allowed the mission to continue, the failed engine meant the stage did not have enough thrust to perform a landing.

This latest launch appears to go normally, although in a break with past launches SpaceX did not provide video from cameras mounted on the first stage. The company didn’t explain the missing video in its webcast of the launch, but the lack of video from the rocket itself, combined with a low cloud deck, meant that the webcast viewers saw only a dark screen for most of the first stage’s flight.

The launch brings the total number of Starlink satellites launched to 1,205, although more than 60 of them have since deorbited. That includes three satellites on two launches last October that failed to raise their orbits after deployment, causing them to reenter within a couple weeks after launch.

SpaceX, in a Feb. 22 filing with the Federal Communications Commission, said that 720 of its last 723 satellites launched were “maneuverable above injection altitude,” but did not confirm the three that were not were those on the October launches.

SpaceX said it has “identified and corrected the root cause for the very few satellites that were non-maneuverable above injection altitude,” including improved testing of the satellites in the factory and updated software to other Starlink satellites in orbit. “These early cases have not recurred since the software updates were implemented, meaning that SpaceX’s corrections do not just address new and future satellites — they also protect satellites on orbit,” the company said in its FCC filing.

The filing was part of a docket on SpaceX’s request to modify its FCC license, allowing it to move satellites into lower orbits. Several other satellite operators oppose the request, primarily on concerns that the modified constellation will interfere with their systems. SpaceX again rejected those claims, and the FCC has not indicated when it will rule on SpaceX’s request.


Source: https://spacenews.com/falcon-9-launches-starlink-satellites-lands-booster/
Tytuł: Odp: [SN] SpaceX launches Starlink satellites and expands international service
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Marzec 12, 2021, 00:32
SpaceX launches Starlink satellites and expands international service
by Jeff Foust — March 11, 2021

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/f9-starlink-210311.jpg)
A Falcon 9 launch March 11 brought the total number of Starlink satellites in orbit to 1,200. Credit: SpaceX webcast

WASHINGTON — A SpaceX Falcon 9 launched another set of 60 Starlink satellites March 11 as the company expanded international service in several countries.

The Falcon 9 lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 3:13 a.m. Eastern. The rocket’s upper stage deployed its payload of 60 Starlink satellites 65 minutes after liftoff.

The rocket’s first stage successfully landed on a droneship eight and a half minutes after liftoff. That booster was on its sixth flight, having previously flown missions ranging from the Demo-2 commercial crew test flight in May 2020 to, most recently, the Transporter-1 rideshare mission Jan. 24.

SpaceX now has 1,200 Starlink satellites in orbit, having launched 310 of them this year alone. Five of SpaceX’s seven Falcon 9 missions in 2021 have been dedicated for Starlink, with the other two launching Transporter-1 and the Turksat 5A geostationary communications satellite. The Transporter-1 launch included 10 Starlink satellites, the first deployed in polar orbit.

As SpaceX expands the Starlink satellite constellation, the company is also expanding the coverage for its ongoing beta test of the broadband internet service those satellites provide. The company originally limited the beta test to the northern tier of the continental United States, later expanding it to include southern Canada and parts of the United Kingdom.

During the webcast for this Starlink launch, the company said it is now expanding its service in the U.K., which had been limited to southern England, to the rest of England, Scotland and Wales. SpaceX is also starting service in western Germany and the South Island of New Zealand, with plans to expand in both countries in the coming weeks.

SpaceX has kept expectations low for the beta test, called “Better Than Nothing” by the company, with average speeds of 50 to 150 megabits per second and occasional outages. In online forums, though, some users have reported much higher speeds at times, exceeding 300 megabits per second, but still with intermittent outages.


Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-launches-starlink-satellites-and-expands-international-service/
Tytuł: Odp: [SN] SpaceX sets new booster reuse mark with Starlink launch
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Marzec 14, 2021, 23:05
SpaceX sets new booster reuse mark with Starlink launch
by Jeff Foust — March 14, 2021 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/f9-starlink-210314-879x485.jpg)
A Falcon 9 first stage after landing March 14, completing a record-setting ninth flight of the same booster. Credit: SpaceX webcast

WASHINGTON — A Falcon 9 launched another set of Starlink satellites March 14, with the rocket’s first stage setting a record with its ninth launch and landing.

The Falcon 9 lifted off from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center at 6:01 a.m. Eastern. The upper stage deployed its payload of 60 Starlink satellites into orbit 65 minutes later, bringing the size of the broadband internet constellation to 1,260 satellites.

The launch was the eighth for the Falcon 9 this year, and took place a little more than 72 hours after another Falcon 9 launch of Starlink satellites. Six of the eight Falcon 9 launches this year have been dedicated to Starlink, and one of the other two, the Transporter-1 dedicated rideshare flight, also carried 10 Starlink satellites.

The rocket’s first stage landed on a droneship in the Atlantic Ocean eight and a half minutes after liftoff. That booster was on its ninth flight, a record for the Falcon 9. The rocket, which first launched a Crew Dragon spacecraft on the uncrewed Demo-1 mission in March 2019, later launched the Radarsat Constellation Mission and the SXM-7 satellite for SiriusXM. It launched five Starlink missions before this one, including the booster’s previous flight Jan. 20.

The booster is now approaching the goal SpaceX set of being able to fly 10 times. However, one company official recently said it may be possible to exceed that goal.

“We’re learning a lot about refurbishment and we’re learning where the areas are where we need to pay attention to,” said Hans Koenigsmann, senior adviser for build and flight reliability at SpaceX, during a panel discussion at the 47th Spaceport Summit last month. Those areas that require special attention include the booster’s heat shield and engine components. “We’ve been learning with every single landing.”

Some of those lessons have been hard ones. One booster failed to land after a Feb. 15 launch, breaking a streak of successful landings lasting nearly a year. The company later said an engine shut down during flight when hot gas got through a hole in an engine cover (https://spacenews.com/engine-shutdown-led-to-failed-falcon-9-booster-landing/) that was a “life leader” in the Falcon 9 fleet, with more launches than any others in the Falcon 9 fleet. The shutdown meant the booster did not have enough thrust for a landing on a droneship.

“The more you fly, the more you learn,” Benji Reed, senior director for human spaceflight programs at SpaceX, said of the failed landing at a March 1 briefing about the upcoming NASA Crew-2 commercial crew mission. “That’s a great lesson that we learned from these very long life leader components and vehicles.” Those lessons, he said, included revised plans to inspect and replace components

Once a booster reaches the milestone of 10 flights, “we will continue to look at that booster and make an assessment whether we can move forward with it,” Koenigsmann said. He suggested the booster may be able to continue to operate, perhaps after replacing some components that wear out. “I don’t think the number 10 is a magic number.”


Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-sets-new-booster-reuse-mark-with-starlink-launch/
Tytuł: Odp: [SN] SpaceX marks anniversary of first launch with Starlink mission
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Marzec 25, 2021, 02:22
SpaceX marks anniversary of first launch with Starlink mission
by Jeff Foust — March 24, 2021 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/starlink-210324-879x485.jpg)
A stack of 60 Starlink satellites shortly before their deployment from the Falcon 9 upper stage on a March 24 launch. Credit: SpaceX webcast

WASHINGTON — A SpaceX Falcon 9 launched another set of Starlink satellites March 24, 15 years to the day after the company’s first, unsuccessful launch.

The Falcon 9 lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 4:24 a.m. Eastern. The rocket’s upper stage deployed its payload of 60 Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit 64 minutes later.

The rocket’s first stage, on its sixth flight, landed on a droneship in the Atlantic Ocean eight and a half minutes after liftoff. That booster, which first launched last June carrying a GPS satellite, also launched Turksat 5A in January as well as three other Starlink missions.

This launch, by coincidence, took place exactly 15 years after SpaceX conducted the first launch of its Falcon 1 rocket from Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. That March 24, 2006, launch was unsuccessful, as the first stage’s single engine failed about half a minute after liftoff.

Two subsequent Falcon 1 launches also failed before the fourth Falcon 1 launch, carrying a test payload, reached orbit in September 2008. The Falcon 1 flew one more mission in 2009 before SpaceX retired the vehicle in favor of the far larger Falcon 9, which has become the company’s workhorse with more than 110 launches since its introduction in 2010.

This launch was the ninth Falcon 9 mission of 2021 and the fourth this month. Seven of those nine launches, including all four in March, have been dedicated to Starlink, increasing the size of the constellation to more than 1,300 satellites.

Growing capacity and international expansion

The growth of that constellation has been enabled by both the high launch cadence of the Falcon 9 and mass production of satellites. “We’re currently building roughly six satellites a day at our factory in Seattle, which is pretty remarkable,” Jonathan Hofeller, SpaceX vice president for Starlink, said at Spacetide, a Japanese space business conference, held online March 23. He said the company has maintained that production rate for about a year so far.

The satellites launched to date, he said, are all first-generation, or “Gen 1,” spacecraft. “We’re already working on the Gen 2 constellation,” he said. “These satellites will be continuously refreshed as we continue to increase both the network capacity and the density by orders of magnitude. We’re excited to be able to eventually provide a lot more internet than we’re even doing now.” He didn’t disclose additional details about the Gen 2 satellites or their schedule.

SpaceX plans to have global coverage for Starlink by the end of this year. However, as the company expands beta tests in the United States and several other countries, Hofeller noted that the satellite constellation alone is just one element of that rollout. Other key factors include establishing ground stations to serve as gateways as well as the regulatory process, which varies from country to country.

That regulatory process, he said, can be “very challenging” as the company explains its system to national regulators. “That process just takes a while.”

Japan, he suggested, is one the countries where that regulatory process is stretched out. Hofeller said the company identified Japan as a country where it wanted to provide service relatively early, and thanked those who have advocated for Starlink to Japanese regulators. “Anything they can do to speed up the regulatory process will be greatly appreciated,” he said, projecting that Starlink service could begin in Japan “as soon as the very end of this year.”

SpaceX has largely marketed Starlink directly to consumers, a move he said is intended to reduce costs to those customers while also providing a direct feedback loop to SpaceX to help it improve the service. However, as the company expands Starlink into other markets, which range from backhaul services for telecommunications providers to mobility applications, Hofeller said the company would be open to working with partners.

“We are a rocket company,” he said. “As we grow the capacity, it could be inevitable that we have partners globally.”


Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-marks-anniversary-of-first-launch-with-starlink-mission/
Tytuł: Odp: [SN] SpaceX launches another set of Starlink satellites
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Kwiecień 07, 2021, 23:59
SpaceX launches another set of Starlink satellites as it nears global coverage
by Jeff Foust — April 7, 2021

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/f9-starlink-210407-879x485.jpg)
The Falcon 9 launch of Starlink satellites April 7 was the 10th Falcon 9 launch of 2021, eight of which have been dedicated to Starlink. Credit: 45th Space Wing

WASHINGTON — SpaceX continued the rollout of its Starlink broadband constellation with another launch of 60 satellites April 7, edging closer to providing continuous global service.

A Falcon 9 lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 12:34 p.m. Eastern. The rocket’s upper stage deployed its payload of 60 Starlink satellites into orbit a little more than an hour later.

The rocket’s first stage landed on a droneship in the Atlantic eight and a half minutes after liftoff. This was the seventh flight for this booster, which first launched the Demo-2 commercial crew mission last May and most recently launched another set of Starlink satellites March 11.

This was the 10th Falcon 9 launch of the year for SpaceX, eight of which have been dedicated to Starlink satellites. The company now has 1,378 satellites in orbit when accounting for those launched and subsequently deorbited, according to statistics maintained by Jonathan McDowell (https://planet4589.org/space/stats/megacon/starbad.html).

That constellation is now nearing the size needed to provide at least basic service globally. “We do have global reach, but we don’t have yet have full connectivity globally,” Gwynne Shotwell, president and chief operating officer of SpaceX, said during an April 6 panel discussion at the Satellite 2021 LEO Digital Forum.

“We hope after about 28 launches we’ll have continuous coverage throughout the globe,” she added. This launch is the 23rd of v1.0 satellites, although a few v0.9 satellites launched nearly two years ago remain in orbit, along with 10 v1.0 satellites launched into polar orbit on a rideshare mission in January. That suggests the company will reach the continuous coverage milestone after four to five more launches.

Those launches would push SpaceX against its current FCC authorization, which allows the company to operate up to 1,584 satellites in orbits at approximately 550 kilometers. The company’s current license from the Federal Communications Commission allows it to operate 2,825 additional satellites at altitudes of 1,100 to 1,300 kilometers. SpaceX had filed a request with the FCC to modify that license, moving those additional satellites to 550 kilometers.

The FCC has yet to rule on that modification, but SpaceX’s current launch rate means the company will hit its current limit of satellites at 550 kilometers within a couple months. Shotwell mentioned during the panel that the company is “bringing our satellites down from our original altitude” to address space sustainability concerns. She did not, though, address the FCC license modification issue beyond saying that the company would continue launching satellites “as we’re allowed.”

Shotwell said the company would press ahead with Starlink launches even after hitting the threshold of continuous global coverage. “The plan after that is to continue to add satellites to provide additional capacity,” she said. That includes launching additional satellites to polar orbit beginning this summer from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Those polar satellites, she said, will likely include laser intersatellite links that the company has experimented with on a few Starlink satellites.

The element of the overall Starlink effort that has attracted the most attention is the series of launches that has created the world’s largest satellite constellation in less than two years. That has not necessarily been the biggest challenge for SpaceX, though.

“The satellites and launch have been pretty straightforward for us. We thought we’d struggle a little bit more on the satellites, but it turns out our Dragon, which is a very sophisticated satellite, helped us tremendously in figuring out the satellite architecture for Starlink,” she said.

What has been a challenge, she said, is dealing with a growing number of customers and building a reliable network, but “none of which we can’t solve.”

Starlink remains in a beta test in the United States and several other countries. Shotwell said there are no plans to end the beta test and move into full commercial service in the near future. “We still have a lot of work to do to make the network reliable,” she said. “We’ll move out of beta when we have a really great product that we are very proud of.”

Another area of effort has been on the ground equipment used by Starlink subscribers, notably the electronically steerable antenna. Shotwell said the company has been working to reduce the cost of that equipment, which is required to win wide-scale adoption.

“We have made great progress on reducing the cost of our terminal,” she said. That equipment originally cost about $3,000. “We’re less than half of that right now.”

Customers currently pay about $500 for that equipment, meaning that SpaceX is still significantly subsidizing those terminals. That may change, though, as the company makes continued progress to lower costs. “We do see our terminals coming in the few-hundred-dollar range within the next year or two.”

Shotwell appeared on a panel with executives of several other satellite operators, many of whom argued that hybrid systems that use satellites in low and medium Earth orbits as well as geostationary orbit, or GEO satellites alone, offer better solutions. “We see absolutely no way, no possibility, that those low-orbit constellations can fulfill the latent demand of all the unserved population today,” said Rodolphe Belmer, chief executive of Eutelsat.

As Belmer and other executives on the panel expressed their reservations about LEO constellations, Shotwell smiled. “I just always smile, by the way, when people make projections about what can and can’t be done with technology,” she said. “I don’t think we have any idea how technology can evolve five years from now.”


Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-launches-another-set-of-starlink-satellites-as-it-nears-global-coverage/
Tytuł: Odp: [AS]SpaceX Readies First Batch of Starlink Satellites for Wednesday Night Launch
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Kwiecień 09, 2021, 09:15
SpaceX to ramp up Vandenberg launch cadence with Starlink missions
April 6, 2021 Stephen Clark [SFN]

(https://mk0spaceflightnoa02a.kinstacdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/39745613513_270bfbfb63_4k.jpg)
File photo of a Falcon 9 launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, on Jan. 11, 2019. Credit: SpaceX

After a lull in launches from America’s primary West Coast rocket base, SpaceX is set to resume a regular cadence of missions from Vandenberg Air Force Base as soon as July to deploy Starlink internet satellites into polar orbits, SpaceX’s president and industry officials said.

The launches from Vandenberg will allow SpaceX’s ever-growing Starlink network to fill in coverage gaps and provide internet connectivity over the poles.

Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s president and chief operating officer, said Tuesday that the company plans to start launching more Starlink satellites into polar orbit this summer. So far, nearly all of the Starlink satellites launched by SpaceX have gone into 341-mile-high (550-kilometer) orbits tilted at an inclination of 53 degrees to the equator.

Speaking on a virtual panel arranged as part of the Satellite 2021 industry conference, Shotwell said Tuesday that SpaceX has roughly 1,320 Starlink satellites currently in orbit. That’s more than six times as many active satellites as owned by any other single operator.

All those satellites flew into orbit on SpaceX’s own Falcon 9 rockets from Florida’s Space Coast.

SpaceX has launched 1,385 Starlink satellites to date, including failed spacecraft and prototypes already removed from orbit.

“We do have global reach but we don’t have full connectivity globally,” Shotwell said. “We hope after about 28 launches, we’ll have continuous coverage throughout the globe. And then the plan after that is to continue to add satellites to provide additional capacity.”

The next launch with 60 Starlink satellites is scheduled for 12:34 p.m. EDT (1634 GMT) Wednesday from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. It will be the 23rd Falcon 9 launch dedicated to hauling operational Starlink satellites, known as Version 1.0, into orbit, and the 26th Falcon 9 mission overall with Starlink payloads on-board.

SpaceX launched the first 10 operational Starlink satellites into polar orbit Jan. 24 on a rideshare mission with 133 other small spacecraft.

The Federal Communications Commission has authorized SpaceX to deploy some 12,000 Starlink satellites operating at Ku-band, Ka-band, and V-band frequencies, and at a range of altitudes and inclinations in low Earth orbit. Last April, SpaceX requested approval from the FCC to operate its Starlink satellites at lower altitudes than initially planned, all between 335 miles (540 kilometers) and 354 miles (570 kilometers).

SpaceX said the change in altitude would reduce latency of internet signals and allow the company to build out its network more quickly. The company pitched the proposed change as also enabling improved internet connectivity over polar regions, a capability desired by the U.S. military, and reducing the risk that dead or failed satellites might become a long-term source of space junk.

In November, SpaceX sought authorization from the FCC to fly 348 Starlink satellites in sun-synchronous orbits at an altitude of 348 miles (560 kilometers). Those satellites would launch into polar orbits inclined 97.6 degrees to the equator.

The FCC approved SpaceX to launch the first 10 Starlink satellites into a sun-synchronous orbit aboard the Jan. 24 rideshare mission on a Falcon 9 rocket. FCC approval is still pending for the rest of the Starlink satellites in the lower-altitude sun-synchronous orbit.

Shotwell said Tuesday SpaceX aims to start launching more Starlink satellites into polar orbits in the next few months.

“We will do some polar launches starting this summer to get connectivity over the poles as well,” she said.

Shotwell confirmed SpaceX’s previous statements that the polar-orbiting satellites, which will fly in a north-south track around Earth, will have inter-satellite laser links. The laser communication terminals were aboard the 10 Starlink satellites launched into a polar orbit Jan. 24.

Laser inter-satellite links will allow SpaceX to route communications signals between the spacecraft in the Starlink constellation, eliminating the equipment to pass the internet traffic through a ground station. SpaceX currently uses ground stations scattered around the United States to operate the Starlink network for beta testing.

“We don’t currently have laser links on the (Version) 1.0 satellites, although the polar satellites, we hope to have a good laser system operating for those,” Shotwell said.

During SpaceX’s webcast of the Jan. 24 launch with the first service-capable polar-orbiting Starlink satellites, a company official said many of the future Starlink spacecraft launching into polar orbit will take off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

SpaceX launched the first two prototype Starlink satellites from Vandenberg in 2018, but all Starlink spacecraft since then have taken off from Florida.

Industry officials have also recently said SpaceX aims to start launching Falcon 9 rockets from Vandenberg with Starlink satellites as soon as July. Officials said SpaceX could ramp up to a cadence of launching one Starlink mission per month from the California launch base overlooking the Pacific Ocean some 140 miles (225 kilometers) northwest of Los Angeles.


(https://mk0spaceflightnoa02a.kinstacdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/starlink_stack.jpg)
Sixty Starlink satellites prepare for deployment from a Falcon 9 rocket upper stage during a launch in March. Credit: SpaceX

In the meantime, SpaceX is expected to continue launching Starlink satellites from Cape Canaveral into 53-degree inclination orbits to add more network capacity and replace older spacecraft.

Two Falcon 9 missions from Cape Canaveral have launched payloads into polar orbit, employing a southerly trajectory that goes parallel to Florida’s East Coast. The southerly launch corridor had not been used for a rocket launch from Florida’s Space Coast since the 1960s until SpaceX used it last year.

Both of SpaceX’s polar launch missions from Cape Canaveral have carried relatively light payloads. The trajectory toward the south requires the Falcon 9 rocket to devote some of its propellant to slightly change direction after liftoff, a maneuver that ensures the launcher would not drop debris over South Florida.

That maneuver reduces the weight the Falcon 9 can carry into orbit. A straight shot into orbit from Vandenberg would maximize the rocket’s payload lift capability.

SpaceX builds the Starlink satellites at a factory in Redmond, Washington. SpaceX officials said last year the assembly line can produce as many as six Starlink satellites per day.

The current version of the Starlink satellites weigh around 573 pounds (260 kilograms). Each spacecraft has a krypton-fueled electric propulsion system, communications antennas, a deployable solar panel, and a sun-blocking visor to reduce the satellite’s visibility from the ground.

Sixty of the Version 1.0 Starlink satellites can fit inside the payload shroud of a Falcon 9 rocket. SpaceX has not said how many Starlink satellites will launch on each Falcon 9 mission from Vandenberg Air Force Base, or disclosed the mass of the polar-orbiting satellites with inter-satellite laser links.

SpaceX has launched 16 of its 112 Falcon 9 rocket missions from Vandenberg. But just two Falcon 9 rockets have taken off from SpaceX’s launch pad at Vandenberg in the last two years.

That launch rate is sure to pick up with the start of Starlink missions from Vandenberg. SpaceX has at least two more Falcon 9 launches confirmed from Vandenberg this year — a mission in September to loft the first batch of next-generation commercial WorldView Legion Earth observation satellites for Maxar, and a flight in November with NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test spacecraft.

SpaceX’s second dedicated small satellite rideshare mission, known as Transporter-2, was previously slated to launch in June from Vandenberg. Officials with payloads on that mission have said in recent weeks that SpaceX moved Transporter-2 launch to Cape Canaveral.

SpaceX has been testing the Starlink network’s speed and latency since last year through a beta testing program. Customers in the northern United States, Canada, parts of Europe, Australia, and New Zealand are already participating in the beta testing.

Shotwell said Tuesday that SpaceX is focusing hitting “performance marks” before transitioning the Starlink network into full-scale commercial service.

“We still have a lot of work to do to make the network reliable,” Shotwell said. “We still have drops, not necessarily just because of where the satellites are in the sky. So we’ll move off of beta when we have a really great product that we are very proud of.

“Most of the folks that have signed up on the beta program … either were completely disconnected and desperate and just loving the fact that they can do anything online, or they’re pretty tech savvy folks who are testing the network, giving us feedback,” she said. “So I think the beta phase is very helpful.”

SpaceX is accepting pre-orders from would-be Starlink consumers, who can pay $99 to reserve their place in line to get Starlink service when it becomes available in their area. For people in the southern United States and other lower-latitude regions, that should come later this year, SpaceX says.

Once confirmed, customers will pay $499 for a Starlink antenna and modem, plus $50 in shipping and handling, SpaceX says. A subscription will run $99 per month.

While SpaceX has hinted that the Starlink network might one day number as many as 42,000 satellites, Shotwell said the actual number of Starlink spacecraft in orbit at any given time will hinge on market demand.

“The plan is to operate a network that is very reliable, low latency, and accessible to everybody, literally, on the planet,” she said Tuesday. “And we’ll add satellites to add capacity. Once we have the network, the mesh network, then basically every new launch just adds capacity, so we’ll be able to monitor how things are going and how is our service, and if it’s good and people like it, then we’ll continue to add satellites as we’re allowed.”


Source: https://spaceflightnow.com/2021/04/06/spacex-to-ramp-up-vandenberg-launch-cadence-with-starlink-missions/
Tytuł: Odp: [SN] FCC approves Starlink license modification
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Kwiecień 29, 2021, 10:15
FCC approves Starlink license modification
by Jeff Foust — April 27, 2021 Updated 7:30 p.m. Eastern with comment from Amazon, Viasat and Elon Musk.

WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission approved a modification of SpaceX’s license for its Starlink constellation, allowing the company to operate more than 2,800 additional satellites in lower orbits.

Source: https://spacenews.com/fcc-approves-starlink-license-modification/
Tytuł: Odp: [SFN] SpaceX to resume Starlink flights
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Kwiecień 29, 2021, 10:18
SpaceX to resume Starlink flights, stretching reused Falcon rockets to their limits
April 27, 2021 Stephen Clark [SFN]

SpaceX aims to resume launching satellites for its Starlink internet network with the liftoff of a Falcon 9 rocket Wednesday night at Cape Canaveral, and company founder Elon Musk says SpaceX will use the sizeable backlog of Starlink missions to keep pushing the envelope and find the Falcon booster’s reuse life limit.

Source: https://spaceflightnow.com/2021/04/27/spacex-to-resume-starlink-launches-stretching-reused-falcon-boosters-to-their-limits/
Tytuł: Odp: [SN] SpaceX launches Starlink satellites
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Kwiecień 29, 2021, 19:06
SpaceX launches Starlink satellites
by Jeff Foust — April 29, 2021

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/f9-starlink25-879x485.jpg)
A set of Starlink satellites separates from the Falcon 9’s upper stage after its April 28 launch. Credit: SpaceX webcast

WASHINGTON — SpaceX launched another set of Starlink satellites April 28, its first since the FCC approved a modification that allows the company to operate more satellites in lower orbits.

The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 11:44 p.m. Eastern. The rocket’s upper stage deployed its payload of 60 Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit nearly 65 minutes later.

The launch took place a day after the Federal Communications Commission approved SpaceX’s request to modify its Starlink constellation. The modification will move 2,814 satellites originally approved for launch in orbits of 1,100 to 1,300 kilometers to orbits of 540 to 570 kilometers, similar to the 550-kilometer orbits used by existing Starlink satellites.

SpaceX did not mention the FCC’s decision in its webcast. However, it did discuss how it chose lower orbits for spaceflight safety, ensuring that satellites will deorbit within several years of the end of their lives. It also mentioned its work with the 18th Space Control Squadron, sharing data on the orbits of Starlink satellites for collision avoidance activities, as well as a recent agreement with NASA to coordinate maneuvers between Starlink and NASA spacecraft in low Earth orbit (https://spacenews.com/nasa-and-spacex-sign-agreement-on-spaceflight-safety/).

“We are extremely proud of our efforts to not only provide internet access to the disconnected, but also ensure space remains a place where human spaceflight continues to grow,” Jessie Anderson, host of the webcast, said.

With this launch, SpaceX has now placed 1,505 Starlink satellites into orbit, of which 1,434 remain in orbit. The company was approaching its previous authorization of 1,584 satellites in 550-kilometer orbits when the FCC approved its license modification to allow more satellites in those lower orbits.

The Falcon 9’s first stage landed on a droneship in the Atlantic about eight and a half minutes after launch. The booster completed its seventh flight, which included launches of a GPS 3 satellite, the Turksat 5A communications satellite and five Starlink missions.

SpaceX has been using the Starlink launches to push the limits of reusability of the Falcon 9 first stage. “There doesn’t seem to be any obvious limit to the reusability of the vehicle,” Elon Musk, chief executive of SpaceX, said at an April 23 NASA press conference after the Crew-2 launch. “We do intend to fly the Falcon 9 booster until we some kind of a failure with the Starlink missions, have that be a life-leader.”

Musk’s comments came after the first launch of a reused Falcon 9 first stage on a crewed mission. The Crew-2 launch used the same first stage that flew the Crew-1 mission the previous November.

Musk said he and NASA have discussed what the optimal number of launches of a booster might be. “Do you want to be on a brand-new booster?” he asked. “You probably don’t want to be on the life leader for a crewed mission, but it’s probably good to have a flight or two under its belt.” He suggested a “couple of flights” might be best for a booster launching a crewed mission.

“It’s a hard problem for a rocket,” he said of reusability.

SpaceX also used the launch to honor Michael Collins, the Apollo 11 astronaut who died earlier that day at the age of 90. “Godspeed Apollo 11’s Michael Collins,” the SpaceX launch director said as the rocket lifted off. “May the pursuit of exploration live on.”


Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-launches-starlink-satellites/
Tytuł: Odp: [SN] SpaceX continues Starlink deployment with latest launch
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Maj 05, 2021, 03:21
SpaceX continues Starlink deployment with latest launch
by Jeff Foust — May 4, 2021 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/f9-starlink-210504-879x485.jpg)
A SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts off May 4 carrying another set of 60 Starlink satellites. Credit: SpaceX webcast

WASHINGTON — SpaceX continued the deployment of its Starlink broadband megaconstellation May 4 with the second launch of 60 satellites in less than a week.

A Falcon 9 lifted off from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A at 3:01 p.m. Eastern. The rocket’s second stage released its payload of 60 Starlink satellites 64 minutes later.

Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-continues-starlink-deployment-with-latest-launch/
Tytuł: Odp: Różne artykuły o sieci satelitarnej Starlink
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Maj 09, 2021, 21:32
SpaceX sets booster reuse milestone on Starlink launch
by Jeff Foust — May 9, 2021 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/f9-starlink-210509-879x485.jpg)
A Falcon 9 first stag completes its tenth flight May 9 landing on a droneship in the Atlantic after the launch of a set of Starlink satellites. Credit: SpaceX webcast

WASHINGTON — SpaceX launched a set of Starlink satellites May 9 on a Falcon 9 whose first stage was making its tenth flight, a long-awaited goal in the company’s reusability efforts.

The Falcon 9 lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 2:42 a.m. Eastern. The rocket’s upper stage deployed its payload of 60 Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit nearly 65 minutes later.

The launch, the third in less than two weeks for SpaceX, brings the total number of Starlink satellites in orbit to more than 1,550. The company is gradually expanding its beta test program for the broadband internet service as the constellation grows. SpaceX noted on the launch webcast that it opened up that beta test program in the last week to people in Austria and France.

The launch itself was noteworthy as it marked the first time a Falcon 9 first stage had flown 10 times. The booster first launched the Demo-1 commercial crew test flight in March 2019. It later launched the Radarsat Constellation Mission, the SXM-7 satellite for SiriusXM and six Starlink missions, most recently March 14, before this launch.

SpaceX had long identified 10 flights as a goal for Falcon 9 reuse in order to justify the significant investment the company made into reusability. In recent months, though, company executives have suggested that the booster can fly more than 10 times.

“There doesn’t seem to be any obvious limit to the reusability of the vehicle,” Elon Musk, chief executive of SpaceX, said at an April 23 NASA press conference after the Crew-2 launch. (...)

Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-sets-booster-reuse-milestone-on-starlink-launch/
Tytuł: Odp: Różne artykuły o Starlink
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Maj 12, 2021, 00:39
SpaceX reaches rocket reuse milestone on Starlink launch
May 9, 2021 Stephen Clark [SFN]

(https://mk0spaceflightnoa02a.kinstacdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/f9_starlinkl27_1.jpg)
A Falcon 9 rocket heads downrange after liftoff Sunday. Credit: Stephen Clark / Spaceflight Now

The launch of another 60 Starlink internet spacecraft from Cape Canaveral Sunday thrust SpaceX past a major milestone in rocket reuse: the 10th successful flight of a Falcon 9 booster. The mission marked the fourth SpaceX launch from Florida in 16 days, with the next batch of Starlink satellites due to blast off next Saturday. (...)

When the current version of the Falcon 9 rocket — known as the Block 5 — launched for the first time in 2018, SpaceX officials said the booster could fly 10 times before requiring major refurbishment. (...)

Elon Musk, SpaceX’s founder and CEO, said last month that the company now plans to test the limits of reusing Falcon 9 boosters, aiming to fly the rockets until one breaks. SpaceX will take that risk on missions launching the company’s own Starlink internet satellites.

Source: https://spaceflightnow.com/2021/05/09/spacex-reaches-rocket-reuse-milestone-on-starlink-launch/
Tytuł: Odp: Różne artykuły o Starlink
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Maj 16, 2021, 20:14
SpaceX launches Starlink satellites and rideshare payloads
by Jeff Foust — May 15, 2021 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/f9-starlink210515-879x485.jpg)
A Falcon 9 lifts off from the Kennedy Space Center May 15 carrying 52 Starlink satellites and two rideshare payloads. Credit: SpaceX webcast

WASHINGTON — A SpaceX Falcon 9 launched another group of Starlink satellites May 15 on a mission that included two rideshare payloads.

The Falcon 9 lifted off from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A at 6:56 p.m. Eastern. The rocket’s first stage, making its eighth launch dating back to the Demo-2 commercial mission nearly a year ago, landed on a droneship in the Atlantic.

The rocket’s primary payload, 52 Starlink satellites, separated from the rocket’s upper stage 1 hour and 38 minutes after liftoff. The launch brings the total number of Starlink satellites in orbit to more than 1,600. This was the fourth Falcon 9 launch of Starlink satellites in 17 days, and the ninth Falcon 9 launch of Starlink satellites since the beginning of March.

Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-launches-starlink-satellites-and-rideshare-payloads/
Tytuł: Odp: Różne artykuły o Starlink
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Maj 26, 2021, 23:57
SpaceX sets Falcon 9 fairing reuse mark with Starlink launch
by Jeff Foust — May 26, 2021 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/f9-starlink210526-879x485.jpg)
A Falcon 9 lifts off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, May 26 with another payload of Starlink satellites. Credit: SpaceX webcast

WASHINGTON — A SpaceX Falcon 9 launched another set of Starlink satellites May 26 on a launch that highlighted an often-overlooked aspect of the company’s reusability efforts.

The Falcon 9 lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 2:59 p.m. Eastern. The rocket’s upper stage released its payload of 60 Starlink satellites into orbit 64 minutes later.

The rocket’s first stage landed on a droneship in the Atlantic eight and a half minutes after liftoff. In contrast to some recent Starlink launches, where the Falcon 9 boosters had launched as many as 10 times, this Falcon 9 first stage was on only its second launch, having previously been used to launch the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich ocean science satellite in November 2020.

SpaceX did set a different kind of reuse milestone on this launch. One of two halves of the payload fairing was on its fifth flight, the first time a payload fairing section had flown five times. The fairing half flew on four previous Starlink launches dating back to 2019. The second fairing half was on its third launch, having been used previously on a Starlink launch and the Transporter-1 rideshare mission in January.

The launch was also the 40th Falcon 9 mission to fly at least one reused payload fairing half. The company had quietly made regular use of previously flown payload fairings, which deploy parachutes after separation from the rocket’s upper stage and are recovered in the ocean by boats.

Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-sets-falcon-9-fairing-reuse-mark-with-starlink-launch/
Tytuł: Odp: Różne artykuły o Starlink
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Lipiec 01, 2021, 00:06
Space Development Agency celebrates launch of its first satellites
by Sandra Erwin — June 30, 2021 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Screen-Shot-2021-06-30-at-5.28.05-PM-879x485.png)
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched the Transporter 2 rideshare mission with 88 small satellites June 30, 2021 from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Credit: SpaceX livestream

These are the Space Development Agency's first in-space experiments since it was established in 2019.

WASHINGTON — The Defense Department’s space agency on June 30 hailed the deployment of its first missions which flew to orbit on a SpaceX rideshare carrying 88 small satellites.

“Today’s missions will provide real-world data that we can use to verify our engineering assumptions and space-qualify a significant emerging technology,” Derek Tournear, director of the Space Development Agency said in a statement after SpaceX confirmed the agency’s payloads successfully separated.

Source: https://spacenews.com/space-development-agency-celebrates-launch-of-its-first-satellites/
Tytuł: Odp: Różne artykuły o Starlink
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Lipiec 01, 2021, 08:38
SpaceX rocket hauls 88 small satellites into polar orbit
June 30, 2021 Stephen Clark [SFN]

(https://mk0spaceflightnoa02a.kinstacdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/f9_trans2_1.jpg)
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket takes off from pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station to begin the Transporter 2 rideshare mission. Credit: Michael Cain / Spaceflight Now / Coldlife Photography

SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket and 88 small satellites from Cape Canaveral Wednesday, sending the rideshare payloads on a southerly track into a polar orbit and notching the eighth successful flight of a reusable booster that debuted exactly one year ago.

Source: https://spaceflightnow.com/2021/06/30/spacex-rocket-hauls-88-small-satellites-to-orbit/
Tytuł: Odp: Różne artykuły o Starlink
Wiadomość wysłana przez: maackn w Lipiec 01, 2021, 09:05
Ludzie Elona założyli w Polsce spółkę Starlink Poland i rozpoczynają walkę z UKE i innymi instytucjami.

https://businessinsider.com.pl/internet-starlink-elon-musk-zalozyl-spolke-w-polsce/l9n7m7y
Tytuł: Odp: Różne artykuły o Starlink
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Lipiec 03, 2021, 06:29
SpaceX launches second dedicated rideshare mission
by Jeff Foust — June 30, 2021 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/f9-transporter2-879x485.jpg)
A SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts off June 30 on the Transporter-2 rideshare mission, with 88 satellites on board. Credit: SpaceX webcast

WASHINGTON — SpaceX launched 88 satellites on a Falcon 9 June 30 on the company’s second dedicated smallsat rideshare mission.

The Falcon 9 lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 3:31 p.m. Eastern, more than halfway into a nearly hourlong launch window because of weather. A launch attempt the day before was scrubbed when a private helicopter entered restricted airspace minutes before the scheduled liftoff.

Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-launches-second-dedicated-rideshare-mission/
Tytuł: Odp: Różne artykuły o Starlink
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Lipiec 24, 2021, 00:40
Court denies Viasat attempt to halt Starlink launches pending legal action
by Jason Rainbow — July 23, 2021 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/f9-starlink210526-879x485.jpg)
A Falcon 9 lifts off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, May 26 with 60 Starlink satellites. Credit: SpaceX webcast

TAMPA, Fla. — A federal appeals court denied a motion from satellite operator Viasat to stop SpaceX from enlarging its Starlink megaconstellation.

Viasat had requested a stay on a SpaceX license modification that allows it to continue building out the low-Earth-orbit constellation, while legal action seeking to compel a thorough environmental review of the broadband network plays out through the court.

Source: https://spacenews.com/court-denies-viasat-attempt-to-halt-starlink-launches-pending-legal-action/
Tytuł: Odp: Różne artykuły o Starlink
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Sierpień 29, 2021, 09:38
All future Starlink satellites will have laser crosslinks
by Jason Rainbow — August 26, 2021 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Shotwell-879x485.jpeg)
Gwynne Shotwell, president and COO of SpaceX, expects the next Starlink mission will launch in about three weeks. Credit: Thomas Kimmell

COLORADO SPRINGS — SpaceX is adding laser terminals on all future Starlink satellites and is the reason behind a break in launches for the broadband megaconstellation, president and chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell said.

Source: https://spacenews.com/all-future-starlink-satellites-will-have-laser-crosslinks/
Tytuł: Odp: Różne artykuły o Starlink
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Sierpień 29, 2021, 09:48
Amazon calls on FCC to reject SpaceX’s amended second-gen Starlink plan
by Jason Rainbow — August 26, 2021 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/sn8-liftoff-879x485.jpg)
SpaceX's Starship SN8 vehicle lifting off on its December 2020 test flight. Credit: SpaceX

COLORADO SPRINGS — Amazon is urging the Federal Communications Commission to dismiss SpaceX’s amended plans for its second-generation Starlink constellation, saying they are too broad and speculative.

Source: https://spacenews.com/amazon-calls-on-fcc-to-reject-spacexs-revised-second-gen-starlink-plan/
Tytuł: Odp: Różne artykuły o Starlink
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Wrzesień 10, 2021, 03:03
SpaceX to increase Starlink antenna production rate
by Jeff Foust — September 7, 2021 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Starlink-dish-879x485.jpg)
While the new Starlink user terminal will be less expensive for SpaceX to produce, the company won't pass the savings on to customers in the near term. Credit: SpaceX

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — SpaceX plans to introduce a new version of its user terminal for its Starlink system later this year that will be less expensive to produce while also scaling up production.

Bret Johnsen, chief financial officer of SpaceX, acknowledged in a panel discussion at the Satellite 2021 conference here Sept. 7 that the company is losing money on the user terminals it sells to Starlink subscribers, which cost far more than the $499 price set by the company.

Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-to-increase-starlink-antenna-production-rate/
Tytuł: Odp: Różne artykuły o Starlink
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Wrzesień 17, 2021, 08:35
SpaceX launches first dedicated polar Starlink mission
by Jeff Foust — September 14, 2021 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/f9-starlink2-1.jpg)
A SpaceX Falcon 9 ascends after liftoff from Vandenberg SFB, California, carrying a payload of Starlink satellites. Credit: SpaceX webcast

WASHINGTON — SpaceX launched its first dedicated polar Starlink mission Sept. 13 as the company moves into the next phase of deployment of its broadband satellite constellation.

A Falcon 9 lifted off from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California at 11:55 p.m. Eastern. The rocket’s payload of 51 Starlink satellites deployed 15 and a half minutes after launch, although it took an additional 11 minutes to confirm the satellites separated as expected.

Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-launches-first-dedicated-polar-starlink-mission/
Tytuł: Odp: Różne artykuły o Starlink
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Wrzesień 23, 2021, 13:25
SpaceX emphasizes coordination with other satellite operators
by Jeff Foust — September 16, 2021 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Starlink-Screenshot-879x485.png)
SpaceX says it's working closely with a number of government and commercial satellite operators to coordinate close approaches involving Starlink satellites with their spacecraft. Credit: SpaceX

WAILEA, Hawaii — Two years after the close approach of a Starlink satellite with a European Space Agency satellite alarmed some in the space industry, SpaceX says it’s working closely with a wide range of satellite operators to ensure safe space operations.

Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-emphasizes-coordination-with-other-satellite-operators/
Tytuł: Odp: Różne artykuły o Starlink
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Adam.Przybyla w Listopad 07, 2021, 20:59
"Starlink has provided an encouraging update for preorderers who unexpectedly had their estimated delivery dates delayed to 2022 or 2023, but the Starlink website is still displaying delayed delivery dates to people who were previously told to expect service in 2021.

As we reported Tuesday, some people who preordered Starlink broadband made tiny changes to their service locations on the Starlink website and immediately had their estimated delivery dates delayed by a year or more. There was a spurt of people making these small changes because SpaceX's satellite division urged them to use a mapping tool to ensure the accuracy of their location. But people said that even changes of a few feet delayed their orders from 2021 to 2022 or 2023, apparently sending them to the "back of the line.""

... albo jest problem z nowymi stacjami naziemnymi albo klienci cywilni nie sa az tak potrzebni, sam nie wiem jak
odebrac ten artykul. Z powazaniem
                                          Adam Przybyla
Zrodla:
https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2021/11/starlink-gives-mixed-signals-on-whether-some-preorders-are-delayed-until-2023/
Tytuł: Odp: Różne artykuły o Starlink
Wiadomość wysłana przez: artpoz w Listopad 07, 2021, 21:51
... albo jest problem z nowymi stacjami naziemnymi albo klienci cywilni nie sa az tak potrzebni, sam nie wiem jak
odebrac ten artykul. Z powazaniem
                                          Adam Przybyla
Albo jest zwykły błąd na stronie, który już poprawili i nowi nie mają już tego problemu.
Tytuł: Odp: Różne artykuły o Starlink
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Listopad 13, 2021, 19:22
SpaceX launches Starlink satellites after upgrading user antennas
by Jason Rainbow — November 13, 2021 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/SpaceXs-25th-launch-in-2021-879x485.jpeg)
SpaceX launched 53 Starlink satellites Nov. 13 on the Falcon 9's 25th flight so far this year. Credit: SpaceX

TAMPA, Fla. — SpaceX successfully deployed another 53 Starlink satellites Nov. 13 in its first dedicated launch for the broadband constellation in two months.

A Falcon 9 carrying its latest batch of Starlink satellites lifted off from Cape Canaveral in Florida at 7:19 a.m. Eastern, a day after being scrubbed because of poor weather.

Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-launches-starlink-satellites-after-upgrading-user-antennas/
Tytuł: Odp: Różne artykuły o Starlink
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Grudzień 03, 2021, 08:23
SpaceX breaks annual launch record as it deploys 48 more Starlink satellites
by Jason Rainbow — December 2, 2021 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Screen-Shot-2021-12-02-at-18.25.33-879x485.png)
A SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts off from Cape Canaveral Dec. 2, carrying a total 50 satellites. Credit: SpaceX webcast

TAMPA, Fla. — SpaceX deployed 48 more satellites for its Starlink broadband constellation Dec. 2, along with two remote sensing spacecraft for BlackSky in a mission that breaks the record for Falcon 9 launches in a calendar year.

Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-breaks-annual-launch-record-as-it-deploys-48-more-starlink-satellites/
Tytuł: Odp: Różne artykuły o Starlink
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Grudzień 19, 2021, 08:44
Falcon 9 sets reuse milestone with Starlink launch
by Jeff Foust — December 18, 2021 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/f9-starlink-21dec18.jpg)
A Falcon 9 lifts off Dec. 18 carrying 52 Starlink satellites on the eleventh flight of this particular first stage, a new record for the company. Credit: SpaceX webcast

REYKJAVÍK, Iceland — A SpaceX Falcon 9 launched a new set of Starlink satellites Dec. 18, setting a new reusability mark for the vehicle in the process.

The Falcon 9 lifted off from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California at 7:41 a.m. Eastern. The rocket’s upper stage deployed a payload of 52 satellites into a mid-inclination orbit nearly 16 minutes later.

Source: https://spacenews.com/falcon-9-sets-reuse-milestone-with-starlink-launch/
Tytuł: Odp: Różne artykuły o Starlink
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Styczeń 07, 2022, 06:38
SpaceX’s first launch of 2022 will deploy more Starlink internet satellites
January 2, 2022 Stephen Clark [SFN]

(https://spaceflightnow.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/starlink3_stack.jpg)
File photo of a stack of Starlink satellites before a previous mission.. Credit: SpaceX

SpaceX plans to kick off its 2022 launch schedule with a Falcon 9 rocket flight Thursday from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center with the company’s next group of Starlink internet satellites.

In a change from previous Starlink missions, the Falcon 9 rocket will fly southeast from the coast of Florida on a course just north of the Bahamas to place the new batch of internet satellites into low Earth orbit a few hundred miles above Earth.

The mission, designated Starlink 4-5, is expected to target an orbital plane with a tilt of 53.2 degrees to the equator, one of five orbital “shells” at different inclination angles that SpaceX plans to fill with around 4,400 satellites to provide high-speed, low-latency broadband connectivity around the world.
https://spaceflightnow.com/2022/01/02/spacexs-first-launch-of-2022-will-deploy-more-starlink-internet-satellites/

Op-ed | Is there enough room in space for tens of billions of satellites, as Elon Musk suggests? We don’t think so.
by Miles Lifson and Richard Linares — January 4, 2022 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/%C2%A9Mirexon-via-Canva.com_.jpg)
Currently, there are more than 4,500 active satellites in orbit. While it took more than five decades to reach a thousand simultaneous active satellites, the growth in the active orbital population has exploded over the last decade, driven largely by companies like SpaceX designing satellite constellations to provide internet access. Credit: Mirexon via Canva.com

As researchers interested in orbital capacity, it’s surreal to wake up and find Elon Musk commenting on the question that has been central to your work: how many satellites can we fit in low Earth orbit (LEO)? According to a recent interview with the Financial Times, Mr. Musk’s stance is that tens of billions of satellites can coexist in LEO. While we agree this is an important question to ask, especially for someone planning on launching thousands of his own satellites in the near future, his estimation is overly optimistic. In the immortal words of Douglas Adams (and Mr. Musk himself), space is big. But LEO is not big enough to safely accommodate this kind of orbital demand.
https://spacenews.com/op-ed-is-there-enough-room-in-space-for-tens-of-billions-of-satellites-as-elon-musk-suggests-we-dont-think-so/

Starlink’s head of India resigns as SpaceX refunds preorders
by Jason Rainbow — January 4, 2022 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Starlink-dish-879x485-1.jpg)
India’s government has ordered SpaceX to refund all preorders for Starlink broadband services in the country. Credit: SpaceX

TAMPA, Fla. — Starlink’s lead executive in India said he resigned Friday for personal reasons, a month after the country’s government ordered SpaceX to stop preselling the satellite broadband service until it gives regulatory approval.

“I have stepped down as Country Director and Chairman of the Board of Starlink India for personal reasons,” Sanjay Bhargava said in a Jan. 4 LinkedIn post.

“My last working day was December 31, 2021. I will have no comments for individuals and media so please respect my privacy.”
https://spacenews.com/starlinks-head-of-india-resigns-as-spacex-refunds-preorders/

SpaceX kicks off 2022 with Starlink launch
by Jeff Foust — January 6, 2022 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/f9-starlink-220106-879x485.jpg)
A SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts off Jan. 6 carrying 49 Starlink satellites. Credit: SpaceX webcast

WASHINGTON — After setting a record for launch activity in 2021, SpaceX started 2022 with the Falcon 9 launch of a set of Starlink satellites Jan. 6.

Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-kicks-off-2022-with-starlink-launch/
Tytuł: Odp: Różne artykuły o Starlink
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Styczeń 17, 2022, 08:26
SpaceX goes all-in on Starship configuration for second-gen Starlink
by Jason Rainbow — January 10, 2022 [SN]

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SpaceX's Starship Ship 20 vehicle fires a Raptor engine during an Oct. 21 static-fire test. Credit: SpaceX

TAMPA, Fla. — SpaceX has dropped a plan to use Falcon 9 to launch the 30,000 satellites in its proposed second-generation Starlink broadband constellation, and is instead focusing on a configuration leveraging its upcoming Starship vehicle.

The decision follows development progress that SpaceX said exceeded the company’s expectations and means it could start “launching the Gen2 system as early as March 2022,” SpaceX lawyer William Wiltshire said in a Jan. 7 letter to the Federal Communications Commission.

Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-goes-all-in-on-starship-configuration-for-second-gen-starlink/
Tytuł: Odp: Różne artykuły o Starlink
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Styczeń 19, 2022, 09:19
Cape Canaveral’s busy January to continue with another Starlink launch
January 15, 2022 Stephen Clark [SFN]

(https://spaceflightnow.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/f9_starlink26_pre6.jpg)
File photo of a Faclcon 9 rocket on pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now

Forecasters expect brisk winds and chilly temperatures for a prime time, full moon launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with another batch of Starlink internet satellites Monday night from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

There’s a 70 percent chance of good conditions for launch at 7:26 p.m. EST Monday (0026 GMT), according to a forecast issued Saturday morning by the U.S. Space Force’s 45th Weather Squadron. There’s a backup instantaneous launch opportunity at 9:24 p.m. EST (0224 GMT).

The mission, designated Starlink 4-6, will carry around 49 Starlink internet satellites into orbit for SpaceX’s global internet network. The Falcon 9 is expected to fly southeast from pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center, heading over the Atlantic Ocean just north of the Bahamas before making a slight right-hand turn to line up with the target orbital plane for deployment of the Starlink payloads.
https://spaceflightnow.com/2022/01/15/cape-canaverals-busy-january-to-continue-with-another-starlink-launch/

SpaceX passes 2,000 Starlink satellites launched
by Jeff Foust — January 18, 2022 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/f9-starlink46-879x485.jpg)
An ascending Falcon 9 rocket illuminates Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A during an evening launch Jan. 18. Credit: SpaceX webcast

WASHINGTON — SpaceX passed the threshold of more than 2,000 Starlink satellites launched after a Falcon 9 placed another set of broadband internet spacecraft into orbit Jan. 18.

The Falcon 9 lifted off from Launch Complex 39A the Kennedy Space Center at 9:02 p.m. Eastern. The launch was originally scheduled for 7:04 p.m. Eastern, but SpaceX postponed the launch to the second of two opportunities that evening. The company did not disclose the reason for the delay.

Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-passes-2000-starlink-satellites-launched/

Pakistan is next to halt Starlink preorders
by Jason Rainbow — January 19, 2022 [SN]

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A SpaceX Falcon 9 moments before launching 49 Starlink satellites to low Earth orbit Jan. 18. Credit: SpaceX webcast

TAMPA, Fla. — Pakistan has followed India in ordering SpaceX to stop taking preorders for Starlink broadband services within its borders without a license.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) said in a Jan. 19 news release that “Starlink has neither applied for nor obtained any license from PTA to operate and provide internet services” in the country.
https://spacenews.com/pakistan-is-next-to-halt-starlink-preorders/
Tytuł: Odp: Różne artykuły o Starlink
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Luty 05, 2022, 08:10
SpaceX launches latest Starlink batch ahead of premium service plan
by Jason Rainbow — February 3, 2022 [SN]

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SpaceX launched its third dedicated Starlink mission of 2022 Feb. 3 to expand the broadband network. Credit: SpaceX webcast

TAMPA, Fla. — SpaceX launched another set of Starlink satellites Feb. 3 as it prepares to offer a faster, more expensive premium service for the broadband network.

A Falcon 9 carrying 49 Starlink satellites launched from Launch Complex 39A at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center at 1:13 p.m. Eastern.

About 90 minutes later, SpaceX confirmed the satellites had been deployed from the upper stage to low Earth orbit through a social media post.

Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-launches-latest-starlink-batch-ahead-of-premium-service-plan/
Tytuł: Odp: Różne artykuły o Starlink
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Luty 09, 2022, 22:00
Dozens of Starlink satellites from latest launch to reenter after geomagnetic storm
by Jeff Foust — February 9, 2022 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/starlinklaunch-20220203.jpg)
A Falcon 9 lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center Feb. 3 carrying 49 Starlink satellites. Up to 40 of those satellites will reenter after a geomagnetic storm kept the spacecraft from raising their orbits. Credit: SpaceX

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Up to 80% of the Starlink satellites launched by SpaceX last week will soon reenter, or have already done so, because a geomagnetic storm kept the spacecraft from raising their orbits.

SpaceX said late Feb. 8 that the 49 satellites it launched Feb. 3 were affected by a geomagnetic storm the next day. Such storms, triggered by solar activity like coronal mass ejections, can increase the density of the upper atmosphere, including at the initial low orbit SpaceX uses to check out Starlink satellite before raising them to their higher operational orbits.

Source: https://spacenews.com/dozens-of-starlink-satellites-from-latest-launch-to-reenter-after-geomagnetic-storm/
Tytuł: Odp: Różne artykuły o Starlink
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Luty 10, 2022, 11:55
NASA outlines concerns about Starlink next-generation constellation in FCC letter
by Jeff Foust — February 9, 2022 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/starlink-pre-deployment-video-still-879x485.jpg)
A set of first-generation Starlink satellites being launched. The proposed second-generation Starlink system, with 30,000 satellites, could raise the risk of collisions and interfere with science missions, NASA says. Credit: SpaceX

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — NASA says that SpaceX’s proposal for a second-generation Starlink constellation with 30,000 satellites could lead to a “significant increase” in potential collisions in low Earth orbit and interfere with the agency’s launches and scientific activities.

The five-page letter was submitted to the Federal Communications Commission Feb. 8 on NASA’s behalf by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, along with a separate one-page letter from the National Science Foundation. The letter was submitted to the FCC’s proceedings on SpaceX’s proposal for its Starlink “Gen 2” system with approximately 30,000 satellites in LEO.

Source: https://spacenews.com/nasa-outlines-concerns-about-starlink-next-generation-constellation-in-fcc-letter/
Tytuł: Odp: Różne artykuły o Starlink
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Luty 22, 2022, 08:53
SpaceX launches Starlink satellites to higher orbit
by Jeff Foust — February 21, 2022 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/f9-starlink-20220221.jpg)
A SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts off Feb. 21 carrying 46 Starlink satellites. Credit: Space Launch Delta 45

WASHINGTON — SpaceX launched a set of Starlink satellites Feb. 21 after more than three-fourths of the satellites from the previous launch were lost because of a solar storm.

A Falcon 9 lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 9:44 a.m. Eastern after a one-day delay because of recovery weather. The Falcon 9 upper stage deployed its payload of 46 Starlink satellites 62 minutes after liftoff, although confirmation of a successful deployment didn’t come until about 20 minutes later because of a lack of ground station coverage.

Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-launches-starlink-satellites-to-higher-orbit/

Op-ed | LEO broadband: Will this time be different?
by Tim Farrar — January 25, 2022 [SN]

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A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches a batch of Starlink satellites Dec. 18 from Vandenberg Space Force Base, California. Credit: SpaceX via Flickr

In the late 1990s, I spent three years advising Teledesic on the business plan and customer requirements for the first LEO broadband satellite constellation. We had hoped to serve millions of small businesses and high-end consumers with a cost-effective broadband solution for suburban, rural, and remote areas. However, the Teledesic project was canceled during the dot-com bust when Craig McCaw could not convince himself that the proposed $10 billion satellite system would deliver on its business plan. The terminals were too expensive, and it was far from clear that traditional satellite contractors like Boeing and Motorola could meet either the timescales or budget.
https://spacenews.com/op-ed-leo-broadband-will-this-time-be-different/
Tytuł: Odp: Różne artykuły o Starlink
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Luty 26, 2022, 00:20
SpaceX makes its case for space sustainability with latest Starlink launch
by Jeff Foust — February 25, 2022 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/f9-starlink-20220225.jpg)
A Falcon 9 carrying 50 Starlink satellited lifts off Feb. 25 from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. Credit: SpaceX webcast

WASHINGTON — SpaceX launched another set of Starlink satellites Feb. 25 as the company argues its satellite constellation is consistent with the safe and sustainable use of low Earth orbit.

Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-makes-its-case-for-space-sustainability-with-latest-starlink-launch/
Tytuł: Odp: Różne artykuły o Starlink
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Luty 28, 2022, 21:56
SpaceX heeds Ukraine’s Starlink SOS
by Brian Berger — February 28, 2022. This story was updated Feb. 28 at 3:40 p.m. EST [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Starlink-dish-879x485-1.jpg)
File photo of Starlink broadband satellite internet dish. Credit: SpaceX

WASHINGTON — SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said Saturday that he’s sending Starlink terminals to Ukraine to help keep the embattled country connected to the outside world as Russia steps up its invasion.

Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-heeds-ukraines-starlink-sos/
Tytuł: Odp: Różne artykuły o Starlink
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Marzec 06, 2022, 07:16
SpaceX Successfully Launches 47 New Satellites In Sixth Starlink Mission Of 2022
Last Updated: 3rd March, 2022 20:15 IST Written By Harsh Vardhan

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Image: Twitter/@SpaceX

SpaceX launched 47 new Starlink satellites in its Falcon 9 rocket, which lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 7:55 pm (IST).

Adding to its already vast constellation of satellites, SpaceX launched a new fleet of its Starlink satellites on March 3. The company launched 47 satellites in its Falcon 9 rocket which lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 7:55 pm (IST). Nine minutes after the liftoff, the Falcon 9 booster landed on the Just Read The Instructions droneship which was placed in the Atlantic Ocean a few hundred kilometres from the launch pad.

Source: https://www.republicworld.com/science/space/spacex-successfully-launches-47-new-satellites-in-sixth-starlink-mission-of-2022-watch-articleshow.html
Tytuł: Odp: Różne artykuły o Starlink
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Marzec 06, 2022, 07:17
SpaceX shifts resources to cybersecurity to address Starlink jamming
by Jeff Foust and Brian Berger — March 5, 2022 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Ukraine-copy.png)
A Starlink Coverage Tracker screenshot provided by Mike Puchol shows a color representation of potential coverage, with green representing areas better serviced by multiple satellites.

WASHINGTON — Citing Starlink jamming “near conflict areas,” Elon Musk said March 5 that SpaceX will be “reprioritzed to cyber defense & overcoming signal jamming” at the expense of “slight delays” in Starship and Starlink V2.

Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-shifts-resources-to-cybersecurity-to-address-starlink-jamming/
Tytuł: Odp: Różne artykuły o Starlink
Wiadomość wysłana przez: kretus15 w Marzec 06, 2022, 18:25
Ciekawe kto dostał w pierwszej kolejności te zastawy do odbioru neta na Ukrainie... Pewno armia Ukraińska...
Tytuł: Odp: Różne artykuły o Starlink
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Marzec 10, 2022, 08:10
SpaceX worked for weeks to begin Starlink service in Ukraine
by Jeff Foust — March 8, 2022 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/36ss-shotwell-879x485.jpg)
Gwynne Shotwell said SpaceX had been in discussions with the Ukrainian government regarding Starlink landing rights for a month and a half before a government minister there tweeted a request to Elon Musk Feb. 26. Credit: Thomas Kimmell

WASHINGTON — SpaceX’s president says the company had been working for weeks to secure approval for Starlink services in Ukraine before a government minister tweeted a request to Elon Musk.

In a talk March 7 at the California Institute of Technology, Gwynne Shotwell said the company had been working for about a month and a half to get landing rights, or government approval to provide services in the country, before the Feb. 26 tweet by Mykhailo Fedorov, vice prime minister and minister of digital transformation of Ukraine, requesting SpaceX provide Starlink terminals.

Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-worked-for-weeks-to-begin-starlink-service-in-ukraine/
Tytuł: Odp: Różne artykuły o Starlink
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Marzec 10, 2022, 08:10
U.S. general: Starlink in Ukraine showing what megaconstellations can do
by Sandra Erwin — March 8, 2022 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Screen-Shot-2022-03-08-at-1.59.06-PM-879x485.png)
Gen. James Dickinson, commander of U.S. Space Command, testifies March 8, 2022, at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Credit: SASC livestream

Dickinson: A proliferated architecture can provide 'redundancy and capability'

WASHINGTON — U.S. Space Command has been impressed by SpaceX’s ability to provide internet access in war-torn parts of Ukraine, the head of the command told lawmakers March 8.

“What we’re seeing with Elon Musk and the Starlink capabilities is really showing us what a megaconstellation or a proliferated architecture can provide in terms of redundancy and capability,” Gen. James Dickinson, commander of U.S. Space Command, said during a hearing the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Source: https://spacenews.com/u-s-general-starlink-in-ukraine-showing-us-what-megaconstellations-can-do/
Tytuł: Odp: Różne artykuły o Starlink
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Marzec 10, 2022, 08:11
SpaceX “broomstick” launches 40th Starlink mission
March 9, 2022 Stephen Clark [SFN]

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SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on March 9. Credit: Michael Cain / Spaceflight Now / Coldlife Photography

Another grouping of 48 Starlink internet satellites soared into orbit Wednesday from Cape Canaveral aboard a Falcon 9 rocket, or what SpaceX’s launch director jokingly called an “American broomstick” in a jab at Russian space chief Dmitry Rogozin.

Source: https://spaceflightnow.com/2022/03/09/spacex-broomstick-launches-40th-starlink-mission/

SpaceX to launch reusable booster for record 12th time
March 18, 2022 Stephen Clark [SFN]

(https://spaceflightnow.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/f9s412pre1.jpg)
SpaceX raised a Falcon 9 rocket vertical Thursday night at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. Credit: Stephen Clark / Spaceflight Now

SpaceX raised a veteran Falcon 9 booster vertical on a launch pad at Cape Canaveral late Thursday, ready for a record-setting 12th mission Friday night with 53 more Starlink internet satellites.

Source: https://spaceflightnow.com/2022/03/18/spacex-to-launch-reusable-booster-for-record-12th-time/

SpaceX sets reuse and payload mass records in Starlink launch
by Jeff Foust — March 19, 2022 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/f9-starlink-20220319.jpg)
A SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts off March 19 carrying 53 Starlink satellites, setting booster reuse and payload records for the vehicle. Credit: SpaceX

WASHINGTON — SpaceX set records for the reuse of its Falcon 9 booster and the mass that rocket placed into orbit March 19 with the latest launch of Starlink satellites.

The Falcon 9 lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 12:42 a.m. Eastern. The launch took place in the second of two opportunities that night after storms in the area ruled out a launch at 11:24 p.m. Eastern March 18.

Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-sets-reuse-and-payload-mass-records-in-starlink-launch/

Starlink reaches 250,000 subscribers as it targets aviation and other markets
by Jeff Foust — March 21, 2022 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Starlink-dish-879x485-1.jpg)
A SpaceX executive said March 22 the company has 250,000 Starlink subscribers, a figure that includes both consumer broadband customers as well as enterprise and other users. Credit: SpaceX

WASHINGTON — SpaceX now has a quarter of a million subscribers for its Starlink satellite broadband service as it looks to move into new markets like aviation.

Jonathan Hofeller, vice president of Starlink commercial sales at SpaceX, said during a panel at the Satellite 2022 conference March 22 that while Starlink is best known for its consumer broadband service, it was also working to provide services for enterprises and other sectors.

Source: https://spacenews.com/starlink-reaches-250000-subscribers-as-it-targets-aviation-and-other-markets/

Blaming inflation, SpaceX raises Starlink and launch prices
by Jeff Foust — March 23, 2022 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/f9-starlink-20220221.jpg)
SpaceX now charges $67 million for a Falcon 9 launch, an increase of 8% the company blames on "excessive levels of inflation." Credit: Space Launch Delta 45

WASHINGTON — SpaceX has raised prices for both its Starlink broadband service and for dedicated and rideshare launches, in some cases by up to 20%, citing inflation.

The company advised customers of its Starlink service March 22 of a price increase for both the service itself as well as the terminal. The cost of the service, which had been $99 in the United States, increased 11% to $110. The terminal, which cost $499 in the U.S., increased to $549 for those who had already paid a deposit and $599 for new customers, the latter a 20% increase. Starlink customers in other countries have reported getting similar notices of price increases.

Source: https://spacenews.com/blaming-inflation-spacex-raises-starlink-and-launch-prices/

Intelsat rolls out network service that integrates Starlink and geostationary satellites
by Sandra Erwin — March 26, 2022 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Screen-Shot-2022-03-26-at-7.43.55-AM-879x485.png)
Intelsat deployed a mobile network in Haiti in August 2021 after an earthquake destroyed the country’s terrestrial communication network. Credit: Intelsat

Intelsat is buying Starlink terminals and services and reselling them as part of a multi-layer, multi-orbit managed network

WASHINGTON — If you can’t beat them, join them. That is the thinking behind a new managed network service offered by satellite operator Intelsat that integrates geostationary satellites, SpaceX’s Starlink low Earth orbit constellation and cellular broadband.

Source: https://spacenews.com/intelsat-rolls-out-network-service-that-integrates-starlink-and-geostationary-satellites/

Starlink eyes Southeast Asia foothold with the Philippines
by Jason Rainbow — March 31, 2022 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/SpaceX-in-Philip-879x485.jpg)
From left to right: Philippine Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, gaming and IT solutions provider DFNN executive chair Ramon Garcia, and SpaceX senior manager for government affairs Rebecca Hunter. Credit: Philippine Department of Trade and Treasury

TAMPA, Fla. — The Philippines is set to become the first country in Southeast Asia to access SpaceX’s Starlink broadband services, its government announced March 31.

Philippine Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez has committed to assist SpaceX’s expansion into the archipelago as it seeks to register services there, the country’s Department of Trade and Treasury said in a news release.

Source: https://spacenews.com/starlink-eyes-southeast-asia-foothold-with-the-philippines/

Starlink loses French spectrum license
by Jason Rainbow — April 7, 2022 [SN]

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France’s Conseil d’État revoked Starlink's spectrum license in the country April 5, following an appeal from environmental groups.

COLORADO SPRINGS —SpaceX has lost the right to provide Starlink broadband services in France after the country’s highest administrative court revoked its spectrum license.

France’s Conseil d’État ruled April 5 that French telecoms regulator ARCEP should have launched a public consultation before authorizing Starlink in February 2021.

“In law, they should normally cease [providing services] immediately, pending ARCEP’s public consultation” following the court’s decision, a Conseil d’État spokesperson told SpaceNews.
https://spacenews.com/starlink-loses-french-spectrum-license/

Another batch of Starlink internet satellites ready for launch from Florida
April 20, 2022 Stephen Clark [SFN]

(https://spaceflightnow.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/starlink4-14-pre1.jpg)
File photo of a stack of 53 Starlink satellites in a parking orbit during a previous Falcon 9 launch.Credit: SpaceX

While SpaceX’s next crew mission awaits a launch opportunity just up the coast, another Falcon 9 rocket is poised for liftoff from Cape Canaveral Thursday with another cluster of 53 Starlink internet satellites heading for a deployment orbit nearly 200 miles above Earth.
https://spaceflightnow.com/2022/04/20/another-batch-of-starlink-internet-satellites-ready-for-launch-from-cape-canaveral/

Record-Tying Falcon 9 Lifts 500th Starlink, as Ax-1 Crew Eyes Homecoming
by Ben Evans April 21, 2022 [AS]

(https://www.americaspace.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/Screenshot-61-1-1536x864.png)
B1060 takes flight for the 12th time in less than two years. Photo Credit: SpaceX

As the Ax-1 crew readies for a weekend return to Earth and with the four Crew-4 astronauts awaiting liftoff next week, attention turned to storied Space Launch Complex (SLC)-40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Fla., early Thursday afternoon, as a 12-times-flown Falcon 9 booster took flight with a batch of Starlink low-orbiting internet communications satellites. The seasoned B1060 core—which becomes only the second Falcon 9 to log as many as a dozen launches—took flight at 1:51 p.m. EDT. Launch came 2.5 hours later than intended, due to weather concerns. (...)
https://www.americaspace.com/2022/04/21/record-tying-falcon-9-lifts-500th-starlink-as-ax-1-crew-eyes-homecoming/

Starlink signs first inflight Wi-Fi deal for services later this year
by Jason Rainbow — April 22, 2022 [SN]

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JSX said it is working closely with SpaceX to certify, test, and outfit the air carrier’s growing fleet. Credit: JSX

TAMPA, Fla. — Jet service provider JSX said April 21 it is set to become the first air carrier to provide Starlink’s satellite broadband services later this year.

The semi-private charter company said it signed a deal to provide Starlink in-flight Wi-Fi on up to 100 planes, covering the 77 30-seat Embraer jets currently in its fleet.

Financial details were not disclosed but JSX said it intends to provide the services to passengers free of charge.
https://spacenews.com/starlink-signs-first-inflight-wi-fi-deal-for-services-later-this-year/

Starlink secures first major airline Wi-Fi deal with Hawaiian Airlines
by Jason Rainbow — April 25, 2022 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/A321_Maui_Fuse_4C_6f4bb3c0-4ac4-4501-a9b7-254e5f96b1aa-prv.jpeg)
Hawaiian Airlines has signed a deal with Starlink to offer passengers inflight Wi-Fi for the first time. Credit: Hawaiian Airlines

TAMPA, Fla. — Hawaiian Airlines said April 25 it plans to offer free Starlink services on transpacific flights to and from Hawaii next year, becoming the first major airline to announce a deal with SpaceX’s high-speed broadband network.

“When we launch with Starlink we will have the best connectivity experience available in the air,” Hawaiian Airlines CEO Peter Ingram said in a statement.
https://spacenews.com/starlink-secures-first-major-airline-wi-fi-deal-with-hawaiian-airlines/

SpaceX launches Falcon 9 booster for second time in three weeks
April 29, 2022 Stephen Clark [SFN]

(https://spaceflightnow.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/star4-16-cain-2.jpg)
SpaceX fires a Falcon 9 rocket into the sky over Cape Canaveral with 53 more Starlink internet satellites. Credit: Michael Cain / Spaceflight Now / Coldlife Photography

(...) SpaceX continued throttling up its launch rate with another Starlink mission from Cape Canaveral Friday, completing a rapid recycle with a Falcon 9 first stage booster flying for the second time in 21 days.

The mission Friday — designed Starlink 4-16 — was be the 151st launch of a Falcon 9 rocket since SpaceX debuted its workhorse vehicle June 4, 2010, and the 43rd Falcon 9 flight primarily dedicated to hauling Starlink internet relay stations into orbit. The launch was SpaceX’s 17th mission of the year, and the sixth Falcon 9 launch in April, SpaceX’s most ever in a single month.

SpaceX has ramped up its launch cadence this year. Elon Musk, the company’s founder and CEO, has said SpaceX aims to complete 60 Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy flights in 2022, nearly double the 31 missions accomplished last year. The launch rate is sustained by SpaceX’s reuse of rocket boosters and payload fairing shells. Just one of the 17 Falcon 9 flights so far this year has used an all-new rocket. (...)

The second stage ignited its single vacuum-optimized engine for two burns to place the Starlink satellites into the correct orbit for separation. Deployment of the Starlink satellites occurred south of Australia about 59 minutes into the mission.

The Falcon 9 released the satellites in an orbit with an inclination of 53.2 degrees to the equator, one of five orbital “shells” used in SpaceX’s global internet network. (...)
https://spaceflightnow.com/2022/04/29/spacex-launches-falcon-9-booster-for-second-time-in-three-weeks/

Falcon 9 busier than ever as Starship reviews delayed again
by Jeff Foust — May 1, 2022 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/starlink-220429.jpg)
A timelapse of a Falcon 9 launch of a set of Starlink satellites April 29 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, the company's sixth launch that month. Credit: SpaceX

WASHINGTON — SpaceX had its busiest month yet in April in terms of launches as the company emphasizes the value of a high flight rate.

A Falcon 9 lifted off from Cape Canaveral’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 5:27 p.m. Eastern April 29 carrying a payload of 53 Starlink satellites. SpaceX confirmed a successful deployment of the satellites an hour after liftoff.
https://spacenews.com/falcon-9-busier-than-ever-as-starship-reviews-delayed-again/

‘Mounting evidence’ shows need for Starlink Gen 2 environmental review, says Viasat
by Jason Rainbow — May 2, 2022 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Starlink-Screenshot-879x485.png)
SpaceX has launched nearly 500 additional Starlink satellites so far this year. Credit: SpaceX

TAMPA, Fla. — Evidence is mounting of a need to perform an environmental review before approving SpaceX’s plans to add nearly 30,000 satellites to its Starlink constellation, satellite broadband competitor Viasat told the FCC May 2.

SpaceX shouldn’t be allowed to greatly expand its Starlink network while light pollution issues surrounding its deployed satellites remain unresolved, Jarrett Taubman, Viasat vice president and deputy chief of government affairs, said in a letter to the regulator.
https://spacenews.com/mounting-evidence-shows-need-for-starlink-gen-2-environmental-review-says-viasat/

More Starlink satellites ride into orbit on predawn launch of Falcon 9 rocket
May 6, 2022 Stephen Clark [SFN]

(https://spaceflightnow.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/star4-17-liftoff.jpg)
A Falcon 9 rocket lifts off to begin the Starlink 4-17 mission. Credit: Stephen Clark / Spaceflight Now

SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center at first light Friday with 53 Starlink internet satellites, completing an all-nighter of space operations just five hours after returning four astronauts to a splashdown off the west coast of Florida. (...)

The company also has “attention to detail” and makes sure “we’re doing every operation that requires workmanship and precision, carefully and correctly,” Stich said. “I’ve seen SpaceX stand down and take a timeout at times when maybe they feel like the team needs a break, and needs a little bit of rest. (...)
https://spaceflightnow.com/2022/05/06/more-starlink-satellites-ride-into-orbit-on-predawn-launch-of-falcon-9-rocket/

As U.S. blames Russia for KA-SAT hack, Starlink sees growing threat
by Jason Rainbow — May 11, 2022 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/AdobeStock_441671979-1-879x485.jpg)
The U.S. government said it has provided "satellite phones and data terminals to Ukrainian government officials, essential service providers, and critical infrastructure operators." Credit: Adobe Stock

TAMPA, Fla. — Elon Musk says Russian hackers are increasing efforts to take down SpaceX’s Starlink broadband service amid the war in Ukraine.

“Starlink has resisted Russian cyberwar jamming and hacking attempts so far, but they’re ramping up their efforts,” Musk tweeted May 10.
https://spacenews.com/as-us-blames-russia-for-ka-sat-hack-starlink-sees-growing-threat/

SpaceX passes 2,500 satellites launched for Starlink internet network
May 13, 2022 Stephen Clark [SFN]

(https://spaceflightnow.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/f9-star4-13-1.jpg)
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket climbs into the sky over Vandenberg Space Force Base to begin the Starlink 4-13 mission. Credit: Gene Blevins / LA Daily News

SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket Friday afternoon from California’s Central Coast with another batch 53 Starlink internet satellites, pushing the total number of spacecraft launched in the network above 2,500, including testbeds and prototypes already cycled out of the fleet. (...)

The mission was the 19th Falcon 9 launch of the year, and the 45th SpaceX mission primarily dedicated to deploying satellites for the Starlink internet network.

The launch from Vandenberg raised the total number of Starlink satellites launched to more than 2,547 spacecraft. That number includes prototypes, failed satellites, and decommissioned spacecraft no longer in the constellation. (...)
https://spaceflightnow.com/2022/05/13/spacex-passes-2500-satellites-launched-for-companys-starlink-network/

SpaceX launches third Starlink mission in five days
May 18, 2022 Stephen Clark [SFN]

(https://spaceflightnow.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/star-4-18.jpeg)
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket transits the face of the sun moments after liftoff Wednesday from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. Credit: Michael Cain / Spaceflight Now / Coldlife Photography

SpaceX’s third Starlink satellite delivery mission in five days departed Florida’s Space Coast just after sunrise Wednesday, adding 53 more mass-produced communications spacecraft to the company’s broadband internet network.

A Falcon 9 rocket climbed off its firing stand at the Kennedy Space Center at 6:59:40 a.m. EDT (1059:40 GMT) to kick off SpaceX’s 21st mission of the year, and the 14th launch of 2022 dedicated to deploying the Starlink network. (...)

The launch Wednesday morning marked the third Falcon 9 flight in five days, departing from all three of SpaceX’s active launch pads in California and Florida. Each of the three missions deployed 53 Starlink satellites. (...)
https://spaceflightnow.com/2022/05/18/spacex-launches-third-starlink-mission-in-five-days/

Starlink’s RV service lets users jump the line for a price
by Jason Rainbow — May 24, 2022 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Starlink-RV-879x485.jpg)
Starlink said it does not support services in motion, but is working on it. Credit: Starlink

TAMPA, Fla. — A new Starlink plan lets customers pay more to skip waitlists to connect to its broadband satellites without a fixed address, although connection speeds for other users will be prioritized.

Users willing to pay $25 more a month than Starlink’s standard service for its RV plan will get equipment to access the network “shortly after” the order is placed.

The new plan is mainly marketed to customers with a motorhome, campervan or another type of recreational vehicle (RV), but Starlink says other uses include “camping trips or for people who have seasonal homes.”
https://spacenews.com/starlinks-rv-service-enables-lets-users-jump-the-line-for-a-price/
Tytuł: Odp: Różne artykuły o Starlink
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Maj 28, 2022, 12:33
The Philippines gives green light to Starlink (https://www.forum.kosmonauta.net/index.php?topic=3854.msg176839#msg176839)
by Park Si-soo — May 27, 2022 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Starlink-dish-879x485-1.jpg)
The Philippine government has approved the registration of SpaceX's subsidiary in the country, enabling the latter to start providing Starlink broadband in services in the country. Credit: SpaceX

SEOUL, South Korea — The Philippines has approved plans that will see it become the first country in Southeast Asia to access SpaceX’s Starlink broadband services.

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) approved May 26 the registration of Starlink Internet Services Philippines Inc., a subsidiary of SpaceX that will provide the satellite broadband to the archipelago.
https://spacenews.com/the-philippines-gives-green-light-to-starlink/

Starlink approved in Nigeria and Mozambique, says Elon Musk
by Jason Rainbow — May 27, 2022 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Starlink-launch-879x485.jpeg)
A Falcon 9 rocket launches 53 Starlink satellites May 18, expanding the network to more than 2,400 in LEO. Credit: SpaceX

TAMPA, Fla. — MaySpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced the regulatory clearance in Africa via Twitter a few hours after tweeting that Starlink had been approved in the Philippines, the first country in Southeast Asia to grant it permission to provide services.
https://spacenews.com/starlink-approved-in-nigeria-and-mozambique-says-elon-musk/

Starlink regains permission to operate in France
by Jason Rainbow — June 6, 2022 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/Conseil-dE%CC%81tat-879x485.jpeg)
France’s Conseil d’État revoked Starlink's spectrum license in the country April 5, following an appeal from environmental groups.

TAMPA, Fla. — SpaceX’s Starlink broadband network reclaimed permission to operate in France June 2 following a month-long public consultation in the country.

French telecoms regulator ARCEP said it decided to award Starlink a spectrum license again after its consultation highlighted demand for the services in areas poorly served by terrestrial networks.

ARCEP had authorized Starlink in February 2021, however, France’s highest administrative court revoked the license April 5 after ruling that the regulator should have first launched a public consultation.
https://spacenews.com/starlink-regains-permission-to-operate-in-france/

Elon Musk reportedly extends timeline for potential Starlink IPO
by Jason Rainbow — June 7, 2022 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Musk-Satshow2020--879x485.jpeg)
SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk reportedly discussed plans to make Starlink a public company June 2. Image credit: SpaceNews/Caleb Henry

TAMPA, Fla. — SpaceX is unlikely to offer shares in its broadband company Starlink to the public until 2025 or later, according to a report citing comments its CEO Elon Musk made to employees last week.

Musk said he did not know exactly when Starlink could list shares on a public stock exchange, reported CNBC citing an audio recording of a June 2 SpaceX company meeting, but guessed it would be in three or four years.
https://spacenews.com/elon-musk-reportedly-extends-timeline-for-potential-starlink-ipo/

Astronomers renew concerns about Starlink satellite brightness
by Jeff Foust — June 17, 2022 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/starlink-trails.jpg)
Three years after the first batch of Starlink satellites alarmed astronomers because of their brightness, astronomers say they're worried about both the increased brightness of newer Starlink satellites and larger second-generation ones. Credit: Victoria Girgis/Lowell Observatory

PASADENA, Calif. — As SpaceX gears up for another launch of Starlink satellites, astronomers are concerned the company maybe backsliding in its efforts to reduce the brightness of those satellites.

A Falcon 9 is scheduled to lift off at 12:08 p.m. Eastern June 17 from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A, placing 53 Starlink satellites into orbit. This mission will bring the total number of Starlink satellites launched to more than 2,700, with more than 2,450 in orbit.
https://spacenews.com/astronomers-renew-concerns-about-starlink-satellite-brightness/

SpaceX warns 5G plan would deny Starlink to most Americans
by Jason Rainbow — June 21, 2022 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Starlink-RV-879x485.jpg)
Starlink announced a new service plan in May designed for recreational vehicles (RVs), but only while they're stationary. Credit: Starlink

TAMPA, Fla. — SpaceX warned June 21 that its Starlink broadband network would become unusable for most Americans if a proposal to use the 12 GHz band for terrestrial 5G is approved.

U.S.-based satellite broadcaster Dish Network is seeking permission to operate a high-power mobile service in the 12 GHz band, which is part of the Ku-band spectrum that Starlink, OneWeb and other satellite operators use to connect with user terminals.

In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission, SpaceX said tests it conducted in Las Vegas shows how the proposed network would cause Starlink users to “experience harmful interference” more than 77% of the time.
https://spacenews.com/spacex-warns-5g-plan-would-deny-starlink-to-most-americans/

UK mulls Starlink expansion plan under new NGSO regulations
by Jason Rainbow — June 22, 2022 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/United-Kingdom-879x485.jpg)
A false-color image of the United Kingdom acquired by the European Space Agency's Sentinel-3A satellite. Credit: ESA

TAMPA, Fla. — The United Kingdom launched a public consultation June 21 under a recently strengthened licensing regime to consider Starlink’s expansion plans.

SpaceX is seeking to deploy six more gateways in England to meet user demand and improve network resiliency for its non-geostationary orbit (NGSO) broadband constellation.

Starlink already has three gateways across the British Isles, which were approved before Ofcom updated NGSO regulations in December to add new checks on interference and competition risks.
https://spacenews.com/uk-mulls-starlink-expansion-plan-under-new-ngso-regulations/

SpaceX to continue Starlink network deployment with Thursday launch
July 6, 2022 Stephen Clark [SFN]

(https://spaceflightnow.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/starlink-4-16-pre1.jpg)
File photo from April of a Falcon 9 rocket standing on its launch pad at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. Credit: Stephen Clark / Spaceflight Now

Fifty-three more Starlink internet satellites are fastened to the top of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket for liftoff Thursday from Cape Canaveral, the first of five Falcon 9 flights scheduled for July.
https://spaceflightnow.com/2022/07/06/spacex-to-continue-starlink-network-deployment-with-thursday-launch/

Dish says SpaceX’s Starlink 5G interference study is flawed
by Jason Rainbow — July 7, 2022 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Starlink-RV-879x485.jpg)
The FCC granted Starlink permission in June to connect vehicles in motion. Credit: SpaceX

TAMPA, Fla. — Dish Network and others pushing for permission to use 12 GHz spectrum for 5G said July 7 that SpaceX’s study on how it would severely disrupt its broadband customers is “scientifically and logically flawed.”

The 5G for 12 GHz Coalition, which includes the satellite TV broadcaster and a mix of telcos, public interest groups and trade associations, said the study draws nationwide conclusions from a “single cherry-picked” area that is “among the most unfavorable geographies to analyze” interference.
https://spacenews.com/dish-says-spacexs-starlink-5g-interference-study-is-flawed/

SpaceX launches 53 more Starlink internet satellites
July 7, 2022 Stephen Clark [SFN]

(...) The launch was the first of at least five Falcon 9 missions SpaceX has scheduled for July. Three more Starlink deployment flights and a Dragon cargo flight to the International Space Station are planned later this month.

With Thursday’s mission, SpaceX has launched 2,759 Starlink internet satellites, including prototypes and test units no longer in service. The launch Thursday marked the 49th SpaceX mission primarily dedicated to hauling Starlink internet satellites into orbit. (...)
https://spaceflightnow.com/2022/07/07/falcon-9-starlink-4-21-live-coverage/

SpaceX’s 50th dedicated Starlink mission begins filling new network layer (https://www.forum.kosmonauta.net/index.php?topic=5072.msg177529#msg177529)
July 11, 2022 Stephen Clark [SFN]

(https://spaceflightnow.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/20220710sl3-1-launch-1536x991.jpg)
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket fires into orbit from California with 46 Starlink satellites. Credit: SpaceX

SpaceX launched the 50th dedicated mission for the Starlink internet network Sunday from California’s Central Coast, deploying 46 broadband relay nodes to begin populating a new polar-orbiting “shell” to fill in gaps in the satellite constellation.

The 46 Starlink satellites lifted off from foggy Vandenberg Space Force Base, about 140 miles (225 kilometers) northwest of Los Angeles, on top of a Falcon 9 rocket. The kerosene-fueled launcher took off from Space Launch Complex 4-East at 6:39:40 p.m. EDT Sunday (9:39:40 p.m.; 0139:40 GMT Monday). (...)

The launch Sunday marked the 50th SpaceX mission with a primary task of hauling satellites into orbit for the Starlink network. In all, SpaceX has launched Starlink satellites or prototypes on 53 Falcon 9 flights, including three launches that included Starlink spacecraft as secondary or rideshare payloads. (...)

Previous Starlink missions have launched into orbits inclined to the equator at angles of 53.0, 53.2, and 70 degrees. The network’s architecture also includes two other layers in orbits inclined 97.6 degrees to the equator to provide continuous global internet coverage.

One of those polar orbit “shells,” known as Group 3, was the target for Sunday night’s mission. The polar-orbiting satellites will extend Starlink coverage over the poles and help fill gaps in the rest of the constellation.

SpaceX began deploying Starlink satellites in 2019 and finished filling the shell at 53.0 degrees inclination, called Group 1, with 1,584 active satellites with a launch in May 2021. In September 2021, SpaceX launched the first batch of 51 Starlink satellites into a 70-degree inclination orbit on a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg. That orbital shell, which hasn’t had any more launches since last September, will eventually contain 720 satellites.

SpaceX’s first launch into Group 4 of the Starlink network, at 53.2 degrees inclination, occurred in November 2021. SpaceX is now more than halfway complete with populating the 53.2 degree inclination shell, which will eventually number 1,584 satellites, the same number as Group 1.

The other Starlink shells — Groups 3 and 5 with 348 and 172 satellites each — are positioned in polar orbit at an inclination of 97.6 degrees. Sunday’s launch was designated Starlink 3-1.

All of the first-generation Starlink satellites will fly at altitudes between 335 and 354 miles (540-570 kilometers). (...)
https://spaceflightnow.com/2022/07/11/spacexs-50th-dedicated-starlink-mission-begins-filling-new-network-layer/

SpaceX Resumes Vandenberg Launches, Looks Ahead to Record-Breaking 2022
by Ben Evans July 11, 2022 [AS]

(https://www.americaspace.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/Screenshot-2022-07-11-at-02.40.21-1536x865.png)
SpaceX’s record-tying sixth Falcon 9 of 2022 from Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif., punches through the murk. Photo Credit: SpaceX

SpaceX is already heading squarely towards its most-flown year on record, with 2022 thus far having averaged one Falcon 9 launch per week. But late Sunday, as its 25th flight out of Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif., took flight, it also set its sights on a record-setting haul of missions out of the mountain-ringed West Coast launch site.
https://www.americaspace.com/2022/07/11/spacex-resumes-vandenberg-launches-looks-ahead-to-record-breaking-2022/

Georgia approves Starlink services in Eastern Europe
by Jason Rainbow — July 14, 2022 [SN]

(https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/Starlink-July-10-v2-879x485.jpg)
A Falcon 9 rises above the clouds to launch the latest batch of Starlink satellites July 10. Credit: SpaceX webcast
TAMPA, Fla. — Georgia became the latest country July 14 to approve SpaceX’s Starlink broadband constellation.

Starlink applied for permission to provide services in Georgia July 8 after meeting regulatory officials at the end of June, the Georgian National Communications Commission (ComCom) said.
https://spacenews.com/georgia-approves-starlink-services-in-eastern-europe/

Weather iffy for SpaceX’s next Starlink launch Sunday
July 16, 2022 Stephen Clark [SFN]

Forecasters predict a 50-50 chance of good weather at Cape Canaveral for launch of SpaceX’s next batch of Starlink internet satellites Sunday on a Falcon 9 rocket.

Fifty-three more Starlink internet satellites are packed inside the nose cone of a Falcon 9 rocket for liftoff at 10:20 a.m. EDT (1420 GMT) Sunday from pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The launch will mark the 31st Falcon 9 flight of the year, tying the total number of Falcon 9 launches SpaceX performed in 2021.
https://spaceflightnow.com/2022/07/16/weather-iffy-for-spacexs-next-starlink-launch-sunday/

SpaceX deploys 53 more Starlink satellites on record-tying 31st launch of the year
July 17, 2022 Stephen Clark [SFN]

(https://spaceflightnow.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/20220717f9starlink422.jpg)
SpaceX launched 53 more Starlink internet satellites on a Falcon 9 rocket Sunday. Credit: Stephen Clark / Spaceflight Now

Fifty-three more Starlink internet satellites thundered into orbit from Cape Canaveral atop a Falcon 9 rocket Sunday on SpaceX’s 31st launch of the year, tying the company’s number of missions for all of 2021 and maintaining a pace of one flight per week.
https://spaceflightnow.com/2022/07/17/spacex-deploys-53-more-starlink-satellites-on-record-tying-31st-launch-of-the-year/

SpaceX going for record-breaking 32nd launch of the year
July 20, 2022 Stephen Clark [SFN]

(https://spaceflightnow.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/D80UeEfV4AAHTNO-3.jpeg)
File photo of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket standing vertical at Space Launch Complex 4-East at Vandenberg Space Force Base, California. Credit: SpaceX

(https://spaceflightnow.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/D80UeEfV4AAHTNO-3.jpeg)
SpaceX is poised to launch 46 more Starlink internet satellites on a Falcon 9 rocket Thursday from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The mission will mark SpaceX’s 32nd launch since Jan. 1, breaking the company’s record for Falcon 9 flights in a year.

And the year is barely half over, meaning SpaceX is on pace to nearly double the number of launches accomplished in 2021. SpaceX has launched more successful missions into orbit so far this year than the combined efforts of any other nation, and the company is far outpacing its chief competitors in the commercial marketplace.
https://spaceflightnow.com/2022/07/20/spacex-going-for-record-breaking-32nd-launch-of-the-year/

SpaceX calls rare last-minute abort during California launch countdown
July 21, 2022 Stephen Clark [SFN]

(https://spaceflightnow.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/20220722spacexscrub.jpg)
File photo of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on its launch pad in California before a previous mission. Credit: SpaceX

SpaceX called off a Falcon 9 launch attempt Thursday less than a minute before liftoff from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, the company’s first terminal countdown abort in more than 18 months for reasons other than bad weather or range safety.

The Falcon 9 rocket was supposed to take off on SpaceX’s Starlink 3-2 mission at 10:39 a.m. PDT (1:39 p.m. EDT; 1739 GMT) Thursday from a foggy launch pad at Vandenberg, a military spaceport about 140 miles (225 kilometers) northwest of Los Angeles.
https://spaceflightnow.com/2022/07/21/spacex-calls-rare-last-minute-abort-during-california-launch-countdown/