SpaceX launch
source: space.com

SpaceX StarLink Satellite constellation: Full story

SpaceX is an American aerospace manufacturing and space transportation company housed at Hawthorne, California. It was founded by Elon Musk in 2002. SpaceX is the first private company to launch, orbit and successfully recover a spacecraft in 2012. The name of the spacecraft is Dragon.

StarLink is satellite constellation being constructed by SpaceX is keen on the objectives of providing Satellite internet connectivity. The constellation will consist of thousands of satellites in low orbit of Earth. The total cost of the entire project is estimated to be around $10Billion.

SpaceX already launched 4 Falcon 9 and recently launched 60 more satellites to the Earth’s orbit on June 3. The launch took place from the company’s launch pad situated at Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Base in Florida.

The foundation has launched 482 satellites since 2019 including the satellites launched on June 3. SpaceX aims at creating a foundation of 12,000 satellites in the Earth’s orbit. The aim of SpaceX as stated by Elon musk is to provide high-speed internet to every internet user and to even users in remote and distinct places.

The company aims at launching hundreds of orbiting routers to the low orbit by the end of 2020. Providing endless internet connectivity throughout the Earth. Many Astronomers have raised their concerns about the danger of space debris and it will reflect the astronomical studies. SpaceX however, has reduced the orbit of the satellites to 550 Km. They have also added a non-reflective coating to their Starlink 2 satellites to address the astronomical study issue.

SpaceX: List of launches

Satellite Hardware

The satellite is designed to orbit in low altitude so the satellites weigh 100 to 500-kilo grams mass. The satellites orbit at an altitude of 1100 kilometers. The constellation is made up of 4000 cross-linked satellites. The satellites will follow the optical inter-satellite links and phased array beam-forming and digital processing technologies. Elon Musk said in an interview “We’re going to try and do for satellites what we’ve done for rockets. In order to revolutionize space, we have to address both satellites and rockets smaller satellites are crucial to lowering the cost of space-based Internet and communications”.

SpaceX Criticism

When people plan to do big things there is a group of people who try to oppose the doing. In the case of Elon Musk and SpaceX’s mission of launching the Starlink satellites, the criticism is on point. But Elon Musk has addressed the disapprovals and working on solutions for that for example the usage of the non-reflective coating.

One of the criticism is that the satellites will cause light pollution and the number of visible satellites will outnumber the visible stars and affect the astronomical studies.

There is a chance for space debris and this issue was addressed by lowering the satellites to lower orbit of the Earth. Satellites are orbiting at an altitude of 1100 km. The satellites also have a chance of colliding with other satellites. One of the satellites was about to collide with a European satellite.

Conclusion

Elon Musk stated that the satellites will provide an internet facility on Mars. The main aim is to provide an uninterrupted internet connection to remote and distinct places. The mission is going on well and if this turns out to be a success, the way people use the internet will change. This will mean that we have an opportunity to explore space and have much more development astronomically. The cost of this project is approximately $10 billion US dollars.

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Karthik Balaji V

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