While Starlink is opening pre-registrations in more countries around the globe now, including India, SpaceX continues to launch more and more of its satellites into Earth’s orbit. Wednesday marked the fifth launch for the project for this year, adding 60 fresh satellites to the constellation which already consists of more than a thousand satellites.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) March 4, 2021
Starlink is currently undergoing beta testing in US and Canada, and is hitting speeds between 50 to 150 Mbps. The speed is expected to double by 2022 and reach up to 300 Mbps. Recently Elon Musk also announced that next year, SpaceX will provide Starlink internet for free to some families in rural Texas who do not have access to broadband internet.
The aim of the company is to launch around 30,000 satellites into space, to achieve the desired network speed and reach. The current launches, mostly in batches of sixty, are happening with the use of SpaceX’s tried and tested rocket launcher Falcon 9. But the company has set its sights higher. It plans to continue the launches with the help of the rocket launcher its currently testing- Starship. While Starship is still facing hitches in its testing, when ready, the rocket would be able to launch a total of 400 Starlink satellites in one go. With this figure, its easy to see why SpaceX wants to develop Starship into a fully reusable launcher, as not only will it complete their aim for the constellation faster, but also at a cheaper rate.
Starlink is not the only project that Space X wants to complete using Starship though. It is also planning to launch its all-civilian moon flight abroad this latest rocket, along with launching humans and cargo alike to Mars. Though this may still take years to accomplish, SpaceX is relentlessly working to perfect the rocket.
However, at the moment, Starship becoming the new Falcon 9 seems far fetched. The company has flown three prototypes of the ship so far, and all of them have ended with the vehicles blasting. While during the recent attempt, which was conducted yesterday, SpaceX managed to pull of a soft landing, the SN10 prototype burst into flames soon after.