On November 13, SpaceX effectively launched an additional 53 Starlink satellites in its first scheduled flight for the internet network in 2 months. A Falcon 9 rocket delivering the next set of Starlink satellites blasted off from Cape Canaveral in Florida at 7:19 a.m. Eastern time, a day after the launch had been postponed due to inclement weather. As per SpaceX, every one of the satellites was safely launched to Low Earth Orbit (LEO), in which they will join the remainder of the Starlink network. After performing its 9th mission, the Falcon 9’s recoverable first stage also landed on SpaceX’s drone ship. The rocket also launched four more Starlink flights, as well as SpaceX’s Crew Demo-2, ANASIS-11, and CRS-21.
SpaceX’s most recent mission was the 25th Falcon 9 rocket launch in 2021. Numerous flights like these have launched Starlink internet satellites for the constellation’s rapid expansion. So far, SpaceX has deployed over 1,800 Starlink satellites to expand worldwide coverage. On September 13, the final specialized Starlink launch flight lifted out from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, delivering 51 satellites to the polar orbit. As per a presentation SpaceX submitted to the Federal Communications Commission on Nov. 10, Starlink is servicing around 140,000 consumers across 20 nations, an increase of approximately 40,000 from what it stated in August.
According to the company, it has received over 750,000 “orders/deposits internationally” for the service. Nevertheless, pandemic-related silicon shortages have slowed manufacturing and hampered its ability to meet orders. Antennas have been a key source of contention for the firm, which extensively subsidizes them to stimulate adoption. On November 10, the FCC authorized a new Starlink antenna that SpaceX claims would be less expensive to manufacture, however, the company continues to charge users USD 499 for the gear required to join Starlink’s services. The new rectangular dish is also slimmer and lightweight than its predecessor, which was round.
For more than a year, Starlink beta testers have been utilizing a 23-inch-wide, 16-pound-round user interface where internet services are accessible. They can now purchase a dish that is 12” broad, 19” long and weighs 16 pounds. The 12-inch wide diameter also corresponds to the diameter of the antennae being developed by Amazon for its projected Project Kuiper constellation. Project Kuiper, on the other hand, is still a long way behind Starlink’s commercial installation. Amazon said on November 1 that it intends to launch 2 Project Kuiper prototype satellites for testing purposes by the Q4 of 2022.