NOVEMBER 13 (UPI) — U.S. SPACE EXPLORATION TECHNOLOGY COMPANY SPACEX SUCCESSFULLY LAUNCHED A SECOND BATCH OF 60 STARLINK SATELLITES ON MONDAY, LOCAL TIME, FOREIGN MEDIA REPORTED. During a webcast event on the launch, SpaceX revealed details of a series of upgrades to the satellites, including increased bandwidth and full decomposition.
Pictured: SpaceX announces major improvements to the new Starlink satellite, including significantly increased bandwidth and full decomposition
SpaceX launched its first dedicated star-chain mission in May 2019, sending 60 satellites, known as v0.9, into low-Earth orbit (LEO), essentially an unprecedented large-scale test. At the time, SpaceX and its chief executive, Elon Musk, released a flood of information that largely debunked the star-chain satellite program.
According to Musk, the star chain v0.9 satellite weighs about 225 kilograms each, excluding the weight of the xenon propellant. That means 60 satellites and their propellants can weigh up to 18.5 tons, which SpaceX says is the heaviest payload it has ever launched. Overall, Musk is confident that SpaceX’s custom phased array antenna sits, even in the v0.9 beta beta version, is actually the best in the world.
With SpaceX launching 60 star-chain satellites for the second time, the company upgraded the v0.9 satellite to the v1.0 satellite, improving and upgrading it mainly in terms of structure and communications. SpaceX said the v1.0 satellite had been upgraded to a “completely decomposable” level. This means that when each satellite re-enters the Earth’s atmosphere, all components will burn up before reaching the ground, reducing the risk of debris harming humans or property. Similarly, in the months leading up to launch, SpaceX had hinted that it would adjust the reflector capabilities of the v1.0 satellite because the astronomy community was concerned about their possible impact.
In addition to the overall appearance improvements of v1.0 satellites, SpaceX’s official review notes that the biggest changes between v0.9 and v1.0 satellites are more related to the advanced electronic devices and payloads they carry. For example, the main payload of each satellite is a set of high-performance electronically manipulated phased array antennas. The phased array antenna (and radar) was originally developed to increase the flexibility of military fighter scanning and scanning radars, allowing multiple beams to be targeted without moving the antenna.
SpaceX says the star chain v1.0 satellite has added a number of ka-band antennas, similar to the hardware installed on the v0.9 satellite, while upgrading the ku-band hardware. Ka and Ku bands refer to similar but different communication frequencies, and Ku bands typically provide greater reliability and cloud/rain tolerance, while Ka bands are more sensitive to environmental factors but provide higher theoretical bandwidth.
SpaceX engineers say the total bandwidth of the starchain v1.0 satellite has unexpectedly increased by 400 percent, meaning that in theory they are four times as much data per second. In addition, the antennas of the star chain v1.0 satellite are said to have more than twice the maneuverable beam, which means that they can effectively serve more than twice the area at the same time. It is not clear whether the increase in the ka-band antenna is the only factor in these significant improvements.
In addition, during the launch of Starchain v0.9, Musk said the 60 satellites had a bandwidth of more than 1Tbps, equivalent to about 17Gbps per satellite. Musk explained that the v0.9 satellite group actually represents throughput of about 200-300Gbps, plus ka-band antennas and possible general-purpose technology upgrades, resulting in a nominal speed of 17Gbps per v1.0 satellite.
Currently, 60 star-chain v1.0 satellites are in orbit and are rapidly spreading outwards after being deployed in a strange but effective manner. If all goes well, all 60 satellites will successfully expand their solar arrays and begin using radon as propellant to push themselves into final orbit. (Small)
Tip: At present, star-chain satellites do not provide signals directly to mobile phones, users can build and operate ground stations to convert satellite signals into wireless network signals for all kinds of terminals. The advantage of this is that the fiber can not be reached where the Internet can also be accessed, such as in inaccessible areas or on the ocean.