back to article SpaceX lobs second-gen Starlink satellites into orbit

Starlink has sent the first batch of its second-generation satellites into orbit today, but not the full-sized hardware CEO Elon Musk promised last year. Instead of the seven-metre-long, 1.25 ton Starlink 2 orbiters Musk claimed wouldn't be launched until the company's Starship vessel managed to do more than explode on the …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If China starts taking any sort of action against Starlink satellites, SpaceX just need to deorbit a few of them on top of Zhongnanhai. Several 1.25 ton satellites dropping on Xi's head might make him change his mind.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Nice factory there. It would be a shame if something happened to it

      Starlink satellites are designed to burn up completely during re-entry. On the other hand one phone call from Xi and work stops at Tesla's Shanghai Gigafactory and the super charger factory.

  2. Potemkine! Silver badge

    If Starlink becomes financially unviable, will all the constellation be sent burning in the atmosphere, or will that be a lot of junk left out there?

    1. My-Handle

      If I recall correctly, the Starlink satellites are kept at an altitude that would see them fall back to Earth without periodic station-keeping. Once they're out of fuel, or if station-keeping is turned off, they come down and burn up by default. They would likely only need a de-orbit burn if SpaceX wanted them down now.

      1. Potemkine! Silver badge

        Thanks for the information!

      2. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
        Boffin

        Starlink

        Starlink deorbits units all of the time. As of now, they have launched 3950, of which 3236 are operational, with 275 deorbited. You can track & watch it all here: https://satellitemap.space/

        My Starlink unit at my cabin is in an area where they just dropped the subscription to $90/month. It's not the best link in the world, but my only alternative is old fashion DSL. So I typically get 70Mbps downlink, 15Mbps uplink, with 35msec latency. Not complaining. Right now, the snow is as high as the unit, which is running it's heater continuously to keep itself above the snow. Maybe in the Spring, I'll invest in a pole for it.

  3. xyz Silver badge

    I'm no fan boi but....

    >>SpaceX's network performance has declined as its subscriber count has increased, and a performance bump between Q3 and Q4 of last year still wasn't enough to bring it to its 2021 performance peak.

    Just run Ookla and got 324.36mbps down

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm no fan boi but....

      Hmm, at 0.32436b/s my email is going to take an *awful* long time.

      :)

      Joking aside, what sort of latency do you get? I'm toying with the idea to get a link for testing with the idea to use it as a backup to the home.

      1. Persona

        Re: I'm no fan boi but....

        Latency is fine, except sometimes there could be small "outages". If you are UK user it will be a one off charge of £460 for the kit and a monthly fee of £75. Expensive as a backup, and really only for people in remote areas till something cheaper arrives.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I'm no fan boi but....

          Cost isn't the issue for what I plan to use it for, I'm just concerned Musk will secretly drop the circuit if there's not much use to save money - after all, with the way Twitter is blazing through operational costs with an ever decreasing income as a result of his presence he has to save wherever he can..

          1. FeepingCreature Bronze badge

            Re: I'm no fan boi but....

            That would be insane. Starlink, once it's financially positive, will be insanely profitable, probably the most profitable thing Musk has ever made. It's a perfect way for SpaceX to make efficient use of its practical monopoly on cheap launches.

          2. Graham Dawson Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: I'm no fan boi but....

            with the way Twitter is blazing through operational costs with an ever decreasing income

            So, in that regard, what's actually changed since Musk bought it?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh the irony

    launching totally non recyclable stuff on a partially recyclable rocket. So green.(/s just incase). And all so the turnips can watch porn.

    1. My-Handle

      Re: Oh the irony

      I don't think there's anyone on the planet right now who can retrieve a satellite from orbit and renovate it for re-use.

      Even if there were, you would consume far more resource launching a (partially) reusable rocket to retrieve it for renovation and then relaunching it than you would just building a new one and launching that.

      There are some efforts in the industry to create on-orbit refuelling / operation extension missions, however these are still in their infancy.

      Also, I am not a turnip farmer so can offer no advice on that front.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Oh the irony

        While that's correct, you could put the satellites somewhere where they don't have to be replaced so often. Your latency numbers suffer a little, but fewer satellites can provide a service for much longer if they're in a higher orbit, and this doesn't necessarily mean they have to jump to geosynchronous orbit from LEO.

  5. Tempest8008

    A bit inaccurate...

    The article states: "...Musk claimed wouldn't be launched until the company's Starship vessel managed to do more than explode on the pad."

    What Starship news have you been reporting on? The last launch of it concluded with a successful landing and was in February of 2021. Since then they've been working on launch facilities and iterating the design of Starship itself AND the Super Heavy boosters, which most recently performed a static fire in preparation for their first orbital attempt which could happen as early as March. I love the Reg, but please report honestly. This boner you seem to have for attacking Musk needs some tempering. His companies aren't him.

    1. FIA Silver badge

      Re: A bit inaccurate...

      Also "...Musk claimed wouldn't be launched until the company's Starship vessel managed to do more than explode on the pad." is the kind of sentence that's potentially going to have once made my head hurt.

  6. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Ziggy Stardust

    5 Years is the expected life of these sats, and the earliest have been up there about 3 years now. With 7,500 in the new allocation, I think the first of the originals will be providing fireworks displays before all the new batch are up there.

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