- Elon Musk’s SpaceX has launched the first batch of its next-generation Starlink Internet satellites.
- A Falcon 9 rocket carried 21 satellites called “V2 mini” satellites into orbit.
- The company said the V2 mini satellites add four times the network capacity per satellite compared to previous iterations.
Falcon 9 rocket Feb. 27, 2023 Starlink mission will launch from Florida.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX is developing the first batch of its next-generation Starlink Internet satellites as the company further builds out its orbital network.
A Falcon 9 rocket launched 21 satellites, known as “V2 mini” satellites, on Monday. The satellites represent the first iteration under Starling’s “Gen2” plans, which were approved by the Federal Communications Commission in December.
Musk shared a video V2 mini satellites are launched from a rocket into orbit. While launches of its first-generation models carried 50 to 60 satellites at a time, the new spacecraft is larger and heavier than before, meaning each Falcon 9A is smaller. The company plans to eventually use its Starship rocket under development for future second-generation Starlink missions.
The upper stage of a Falcon 9 rocket deploys a stack of Starlink “V2 mini” satellites into orbit on February 27, 2028.
SpaceX highlighted the V2 Minis’ improved capabilities, including “more powerful phased array antennas” and “new Argon Hall thrusters” for orbital maneuvering. The company said the V2 mini satellites add four times the network capacity per satellite compared to previous iterations.
Notably, Monday also represented the 100th consecutive event that SpaceX successfully attempted and landed a Falcon 9 rocket booster — a streak that stretches back to February 16, 2021. Mission every four days on average by 2023.
The company has launched around 4,000 Starlink satellites to date and its network reached 1 million subscribers in December across a range of product offerings – services for residential, commercial, RV, marine and aviation customers.
Last week, SpaceX adjusted the price of its residential Starlink service based on capacity requirements.